The wait might have been a little longer than he anticipated. Solder was the last of the Patriots' nine draft picks to sign their rookie contract, but he got it done in time to debut at Thursday's practice. Every other pick signed by Tuesday, and six of them inked their deals by the end of last week.
Coming out of the lockout, Solder had a realistic chance to take over as the Patriots' starting left tackle. Before he signed his deal, though, Matt Light re-upped for two seasons and will stake claim to the role he has owned for 10 years. Solder said he tried not to speculate on Light's future as he geared up for his first season.
"My expectations have always been the same," Solder said. "I want to be as best as I can be and contribute to this team."
That started Thursday when he linked up with his new teammates for the 10th practice of the team's training camp. Solder actually performed well, with one highlight coming when he helped Logan Mankins stave off Albert Haynesworth's first live rep of the day.
Solder alluded to feeling good on the field, though he said that it's never as good or bad as he probably thinks, and the challenges will only increase with more time on the turf.
"It's not the first day of camp that's the tough one," Solder said. "It's the 15th, 20th day, so I felt good [Thursday], but it's always a grind."