“It was really emotional…it’s hard to put into words.”
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 5, 2017
If there’s one thing that could be better in the middle of a bye week than hearing a class act like Matthew Slater won the NFL’s Bart Starr Award for character and leadership exactly 20 years after his dad did, it’s watching the video of the way the team sprung the news on him. The only downside is, like all team videos, it’s unembeddable (get out of the Dark Ages, NFL), but you can find it here. If you’re able to handle a room filled with testosterone, affection and pride, invest the two minutes it will take you. But be forewarned: When you see Tom Brady and Mr. Kraft looking on, you will be in the Splash Zone. The first two rows WILL GET WET.
If you can’t, let me give you the story in Slater’s own words:
[OK, Thornton. You’re a grown man. Composure yourself. Deep breath. Annnd, begin.] I won’t even pretend to be objective at a moment like this. At WEEI, I got to interview Matthew Slater on a semi-weekly basis and he’s such a decent, cerebral and considerate guy I have to recuse myself. Sure, he gave you the same evasive non-answers all Patriots do. But he did it in such a thoughtful and articulate way, he’s impossible not to like. Which we can all assume, since he’s a career special teamer who inherited the coveted “Locker Room Breakdown” honors from none other than Tedy Bruschi. And now, he’s the recipient of the most emotional moment since Brady’s return 11 weeks ago. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy. Now I just have to deal with the dust in this place.