FOXBORO, Mass. — Not even all of Nate Solder’s New England Patriots teammates knew the left tackle was diagnosed with cancer before the 2014 season.
Solder revealed to ESPN.com that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in April 2014. Solder was treated for the disease, then went on to participate in training camp and played the entire 2014 season, including all three postseason games, after having surgery.
“I don’t know if everyone knew,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. “I think some guys knew, but I think that was more for him a personal process. That wasn’t something as a team that we just — everyone talked about or anything. It was more for him.
“I think as a teammate, you’re just blown away by everything he was able to do getting over that, still playing at a high level. To me, it was highly impressive. To me, Nate’s a great guy, and he does so many things on the field, off the field, and I think that was just another battle that he passed, and I think he’ll do great things with it and spreading awareness and everything.”
Solder is a highly respected Patriots player, but the disclosure of his cancer diagnosis gave his teammate a chance to gush about how the fifth-year pro handled himself last season.
“I was aware of it, and I have so much respect for Nate Solder and the type of man he is,” Patriots captain Matthew Slater said. “The faith in God that he has and the way he carries himself, I can’t think of anyone who’s handled a situation like that better than he has. I don’t want to get too much into detail, I’ll let him speak on that, but Nate Solder’s a great man, and the way he handled that last year was really admirable, with so much courage and a positive attitude, a sense of peace. It was really something to behold.”
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images