FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater and his teammates already have turned the page to Thursday night's game against the visiting Miami Dolphins. If Slater had the choice, the turnaround wouldn't be so quick.
"I can’t sit here as the player rep of this team and say that I’m a huge fan of it," Slater said of Thursday night games. "Obviously it puts our players in a bind. But I understand why it’s being done. I understand that we want to make this game available to our fans as often as possible. But you talk about player safety and health, and it’s hard for us to understand how that is catering toward our players’ safety and health.
"Obviously there are some great things that come along with the Thursday night game. But at the same time, there are some challenges for the guys that are out there playing the game. I don’t think that’s any mystery. You’re not hearing any new information. It is what it is.”
Asked if his thoughts reflect the majority of his teammates, Slater said he believes they do.
"It's something that's been voiced by several guys. I understand the situation that the league is in, and I understand why it's good for our league to play these Thursday games. But I also understand there are two sides of it, and there are some disadvantages to a quick turnaround," he said. "But I don't want to continue to sit here and dwell on that. We're playing Thursday, we have to be ready to go, and we're always excited when we have a chance to take the field."
From an overall perspective, Slater said, “The thing that goes overlooked a lot of times is that it takes longer to recover from playing a football game."
Earlier on Monday during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI, quarterback Tom Brady touched on some of the positives of playing Thursday nights.
"I don't think it's as tough as some people make it out to be, personally," he said. "Maybe I'm a quarterback, I'm different; I think if you're an interior offensive lineman you may feel differently about that. But it's also nice knowing if you win the game, on the back end of it you have a lot of extra days to prepare for the next opponent."