November 5, 2019 10:00 am ET
The New England Patriots found themselves in a very fortunate situation with the mid-season acquisition of Justin Bethel.
He’s a three-time Pro Bowl special teamer that was let go by the Baltimore Ravens, but not by their choice. They released him to save a compensatory pick, and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh admitted that he didn’t want to let Bethel go. The Patriots signed him to a deal for less than $1 million this season and they are going to fully reap the benefits.
Bethel made two huge plays in Week 9 against his former team, one of which resulting in a fumble recovery on a muffed punt.
CYRUS JONES FUMBLE AND JUSTIN BETHEL RECOVERS! pic.twitter.com/rPN2K0hA0b
— PatriotsNation™ (@PatsNationTM) November 4, 2019
Seven-time Pro Bowler Matthew Slater spoke about the addition of Bethel while speaking to reporters after the game.
“He’s a dynamic player,” Slater said. “He’s proven that over the course of his career. I thought he made a lot of plays to keep us in the game tonight. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. But when you go out there and you think you want to single (cover) Justin Bethel, good luck.”
Bethel is 29 years old and currently in his eighth season, so he has the advantage of both experience and youth.
“I just think his awareness and his feel for the game are tremendous,” Slater continued. “Just the way he’s in tune with situations, his experience — he’s seen just about everything at this point in his career. When you’ve got a player like that — as I said when we first got him — it’s a huge, huge boost for our unit, as we saw tonight. It just wasn’t enough, unfortunately.”
The Patriots have been sound with their special teams unit this season so far, and Bethel adds a player with similar skillsets to Slater — which is a scary combination for opposing teams.