Matthew Slater
Jackson State

New England Patriots veteran speaks on his Jackson State/HBCU ties

The New England Patriots picked a Jackson State player in the 2023 Draft, but also have a veteran who is a “JSU baby.”

The New England Patriots made headlines earlier this year by drafting Jackson State’s Isaiah Bolden.

The defensive back was the lone HBCU player selected in the 2023 NFL Draft when the Patriots selected him in the seventh round, 245th overall.

Matthew Slater is glad to have Bolden aboard. The veteran special teams gunner is the son of Jackie Slater, a former Jackson State star that went on to become a Pro Football Hall of Famer with the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams. His mother, Annie, is a Jackson State alumna as well.

Isaiah Bolden, Jackson State, New England Patriots

“Shoutout to JSU Tigers,” Slater told the media during training camp. “I’m a JSU baby, obviously. Both my parents went there. But it’s great to see the HBCUs getting the attention that I think they deserve.”  

The 37-year-old was born during his father’s pro career and raised in Southern California. He played his college ball at UCLA before being drafted by the New England Patriots in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. 

“There’s so much rich history there. You look at, kind of, the trajectory of those schools. It’s sad now that they don’t get the type of players that they used to get — which I understand why that’s the case,” Slater said. “But those schools mean so much to our community, they mean so much to our history. It’s great that they are starting to get the attention they deserve.”

Despite not attending an HBCU himself, Slater said he definitely recognizes their importance.

“They play such a pivotal role in who we are as a people and our past and I think it’s great to celebrate them,” Slater said. 

New England Patriots veteran speaks on his Jackson State/HBCU ties
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