New England Patriots’ special teams standout Matthew Slater thought it was going to be a typical Monday. He would rest his body after a Sunday win and go to the team’s weekly bible study.
As “60 guys and coaches” showed up (way more people than normally attend), Slater thought, “We’re about to have a good bible study right now.”
The reason for the packed house was actually for Slater.
During bible study, the Patriots knew he was going to receive a surprise phone call from Bart Starr’s wife, Cherry. She called to let him know that he is the recipient of the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award for the 2017 season.
The prestigious award is given to the player voted on by his NFL peers as someone who “best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community.”
With the honor, the six-time Pro Bowler player joins his father and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater in being named a Bart Star Award recipient. This is the first time in history a father-son duo have taken home the award.
“I’ve always tried to keep in perspective that I’m no different than anyone else because I play football,” Slater said in a press conference. “It’s just a job. At the end of the day, the connection you make with people, the way you treat people, and the things you try to stand for and believe in, although it may not be perfect at times it’s something that is very important to me.”
You can watch Slater learn he was the winner of the award here.
“It was really emotional…it’s hard to put into words.”
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 5, 2017
What a way to enter the playoffs.