Sports

Giants’ Nate Solder would ‘probably’ return to NFL if he’s wanted

Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season and it sounds as if he wants to opt in for 2021.

“I’m in a place now where if I am offered another chance to play football, I’ll probably take it,” Solder wrote in an article for “The Increase” that he tweeted out on Wednesday. “But I’m thankful for the decision I made last year for my family and community.”

The question is whether or not there is a place for him with the Giants. Solder turns 33 next month and is scheduled to count $16.5 million on the salary cap. That is an untenable cap allotment for a player who missed the entire 2020 season and had his position, left tackle, taken over by Andrew Thomas, the 2020 first-round pick from Georgia.  

Head coach Joe Judge said on Tuesday he has had “a lot” of conversations with Solder since the end of the season, mostly talking about Solder’s family with some football conversation sprinkled in. Solder’s son, Hudson, is in kindergarten and continues to undergo cancer treatment. Solder, who overcame testicular cancer prior to the 2014 season with the Patriots, chose to sit out last season, citing COVID-19 concerns for his family.

Solder said his son “is doing really awesome” after three cycles of chemotherapy. 

“Now we’re doing scans and checkups every three months, but we’re really thankful,” he wrote.

Solder forfeited $9.9 million in salary in 2020 — he did receive a roster bonus of $3 million — and was paid $350,000 as a high-risk opt out.

Solder seems to sense there might not be a direct pathway back into football.

Giants Nate Solder
Giants left tackle Nate Solder.
Corey Sipkin

“The opportunity of playing in the NFL again at the age of 32 isn’t great; I don’t know what’s going to happen going forward,” he wrote. “The amount of revenue I lost by not playing for a season was significant. The dependence I felt like my team had on me to protect the quarterback was really weighing on my heart. It was not an easy decision. But if you remove the idols from your heart and break it down to what’s really important, knowing God loves you no matter what decisions you make, that makes it easier.”

Solder last season kept in touch with his Giants teammates.

“It was great to be a fan this past year,” he wrote. “I was sitting in a comfortable chair criticizing every decision they did or didn’t make, and it wasn’t stressful, no expectations; it was fun. But God designed me in a certain way where I want to be productive and get things done. I enrolled in seminary and have learned so much about the Bible. I’ve had a community with professors and other students that has been great. And I am still working out. I just didn’t feel right abandoning my family this year, so I’m spending good time with them.”

Judge was non-committal about where or if Solder fits into the Giants’ plans in 2021.

“When the time comes to address all that, we’ll know,” Judge said. “These things don’t all happen in one day and we’ll see where everything goes.”


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