OL Nate Solder
June 9, 2021
Q. What's it like coming back and when did you know that you were going to try to come back this season after sitting out last year?
NATE SOLDER: There's so many factors involved with that but I'm just thankful they gave me the opportunity to come back. There's no guarantees with that. And the other thing was just excitement. I was excited to comeback, I was ready to come back and those were the determining factors. Sitting down with my wife and making the decision and all that stuff was a group decision between me and her.
Q. What's it been like being around the team did you miss that start of it?
NATE SOLDER: Absolutely. That's one of the best parts of being in the NFL is the locker room with the guys, the camaraderie, and having a collective goal. I really did miss that and I'm glad to be back part of that.
Q. The last time you were practicing with this team is looked a lot different than it does now, different coaching staff and different teammates on the offensive line. What's it like coming back to this new look team almost? Has that been a unique experience for you?
NATE SOLDER: Yeah, it is so different. It's interesting how many guys are new, and you know what, I love the feel of the guys, I love the way that they are working, I love that the way we are covering the details in the meetings. We are doing so many good things, so it's really neat to be part of it.
Q. What's your impression of Andrew Thomas from afar and now that you've spent some time with him this spring?
NATE SOLDER: He's awesome. He goes about his business, works hard, keeps his head down, humble, just grinds, excellent athlete. It's a real pleasure to work with him.
Q. What was it like last fall just not being kind of part of the team but sort of being part of the team? What was that experience like for you?
NATE SOLDER: It was interesting, and I thought about it, it was the first time I had a break since middle school, so I didn't even know that fall existed outside of a football locker room. It was a nice little break and I needed it mentally and physically, and that's been really a wonderful break that I got to have and spend time with my family which was nice.
Q. You said you didn't know if you'd have the opportunity to come back, but obviously you're under contract. What was your mindset with the financial part of it? You took a pretty sizable pay cut?
NATE SOLDER: My mindset was if I can be somewhere where I'm fulfilling my purpose, where I can be around guys that have the same set of values and goals and myself, it's a real honor and it's a privilege to be part of the NFL. I would say I missed the excitement and fun of being a part of it, so I'm fortunate to be in this position.
Q. What did you do to stay in shape and where are you now in that progression?
NATE SOLDER: Well, I haven't played much football until the last couple weeks so that's been a little different. But I did a few things. I was in my backyard doing pass sets and I got a weight set down in my basement, stuff like that.
It's been different, and as like everyone, you know, it's a little transition back here into regular life again, but it's nice to get back in the weight room with all the guys and back on the field and I'm getting better every day as much as I can.
Q. Do you have a ways to go to get back in football shape or do you feel like you're close?
NATE SOLDER: I've been in this position enough times, so it's a building process. You're never there, you're never not there; we're always on our way. I feel good where I'm at right now.
Q. You're going to be entering camp for the first time in a while, definitely you're going to be a starter. How has that been for you?
NATE SOLDER: One of the great things about coming back is just the opportunity to work with a group of guys. Who cares who starts. I just want to be a part of an excellent group that's getting better every day that plays at a really high level and I've been fortunate enough to play with some great O-Lines, and whoever cares, nobody cares who is starting and who is not starting because we're all part of the team and we're all necessary and we're all needed. So, if I can encourage, protect, guide, lead and compete, whatever it takes, I'm here to do it.
Q. When you sat down with Joe, did he say, I don't know where you're going to play, it could be left tackle, could be right tackle; was that something he talked about?
NATE SOLDER: No, he said the best five are going to play. I've been on enough teams where there's six, seven off the bench that there's significant time, so I don't know what that's going to be. Who knows? They are going to game plan something up, and I'm hoping to get some time on the field but whatever the case is going to be, I'm going to work my tail off and be the best I can to support the guys around me.
Q. Is that a natural hairdo now or was that a rookie hazing or what?
NATE SOLDER: A rookie hazing (laughing), yeah, you take a year off, you get to go back as a rookie. I just cut it a little shorter.
Q. I'm sure in the year off you didn't hire some 300-pound guys to run into you repeatedly to stay in football shape. What's it going to be like, a veteran taking a year off, coming back, and now you've got to get pounded on by these guys. Not yet but certainly in training camp and in the games. Are you wondering, did this do good things to your body? Did it do bad things to your body? It's very unusual to take a year off when you're not hurt.
NATE SOLDER: So, what's the question? Sorry.
Q. What do you expect from your body at this stage when it starts happening, when they start coming at you?
NATE SOLDER: The Lord knows, I have no idea. I'm thankful for the opportunity. I still feel fresh. I'm as fast and strong as I feel like I have ever been. Who knows, how could I project and predict what's going to happen. I'll do my best to stay out there and be healthy.
Q. Is your weight the same? Do you maintain the weight?
NATE SOLDER: Yeah, I'm not too much less than I was before, which is a little bit shocking to me. But it's good. I'm working hard.
Q. You were not a part of any kind of O-Line meeting or any kind of learning whatever technique was taught last year; right?
NATE SOLDER: Virtual stuff last year early in OTAs.
Q. So my question is about the technique that the O-Line coaches are teaching. Like with Judge here now, is what is being taught now with Rob Sale, Pat Flaherty, etc., is it in line with what you did and learned and practiced in New England, and also different from what was going on last year?
NATE SOLDER: Well, I can't speak to what happened last year. I wasn't around for that. It's different. It's a different O-Line coach with a different personality with different emphasis and that's what it is. I'm an open book. I have so much to learn and from all those guys, and there's so many ways to skin a cat and it's been good. I really appreciate the way they are doing