Nate Solder, Patriots Rookies Honored to Play in First Super Bowl

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s like this every year, right?

For the Patriots’ rookies, they’ve never participated in a season that hasn’t resulted in a trip to the Super Bowl, and they feel blessed to get immersed into that type of situation.

“It’s unbelievable,” rookie tackle Nate Solder said. “I guess this doesn’t happen every year, so it will be an adjustment if we don’t go the next few years. I’m happy to be here.”

“It’s an honor, no doubt about it,” running back Stevan Ridley said. “I’m very excited about it. It’s an opportunity that I’ve dreamed about ever since I was a little kid. For me, it’s just really kind of taking it all in right now and trying to just realize where I am and how lucky I am to be here. For me to go out there and just play a great game would really put the icing on the cake if we can finish this thing strong and that’s what we’re going to try to go out there and do.”

It’s an eye-opening experience for any first-timer at the Super Bowl, and the Patriots’ rookies admitted to being surprised about a handful of things.

“It’s actually surprising how sheltered we are from all the hype,” Solder said, “and how this has been just a regular game for us and how we go about our preparations as we would for any game.”

And then, of course, there’s a massive increase in media asking them about what it’s like being a rookie in the Super Bowl.

“A lot more media attention than I thought,” running back Shane Vereen said. “It’s all cool. It makes you understand how big this game actually is.”

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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