Nate Solder says Patriots were “cold,” but incredibly supportive of his son

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The last year has featured a great deal of talk about the environment in New England, from the reports of friction between Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, to Philadelphia’s Lane Johnson saying that the Patriots live in fear instead of having fun. Former Patriot Nate Solder has offered a more nuanced take.

Solder, who had spent his entire seven-year career in New England before signing with the Giants this year, wrote in the Players’ Tribune that the Patriots could be cold.

It can be a tough environment,” Solder writes. “It’s very businesslike, and at times it can be cold. Everything in New England is predicated on performance. It’s a place where people sometimes treat you differently based on how you practiced that day or how you answered a question in a meeting. One day, you could walk around the facility feeling like a Pro Bowler — the next, like you’re about to get cut.”

But Solder also discusses how, in 2015, his son was diagnosed with cancer at just three months old. Solder said that Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels were incredibly supportive, always urging him to prioritize his role as father over his role as left tackle.

“[McDaniels] told me that if I ever needed to dip out of a meeting because the stress got to be too much, nobody would ask any questions. Coach Belichick told me the same,” Solder writes. “He said that if I ever needed to miss practice or a meeting, it was totally fine. ‘Whatever Hudson needs,’ he said. I don’t think I can even put into words how much I appreciated that — both what Bill said and how Josh handled everything. They treated me like a human being instead of a football player or a left tackle.”

Solder titled his piece, “Thank You, New England.”

97 responses to “Nate Solder says Patriots were “cold,” but incredibly supportive of his son

  1. Christian Fauria, who is now a radio personality in Boston, put it best. He was not unhappy to leave NE and sign with Washington. Once he got there he realized why NE won consistently and other teams don’t.

  2. Well, that’s the environment; So are there any questions? It’s a tough, business-like, performance based atmosphere.

    Everyone wants everything in this world to be perfect; and when it’s not, there’s a ton of crying. There is no perfect situation where you win and have fun every year. That’s real life.

    You want the patriots to be like Google? Seriously? Grow up everyone.

  3. Both belichick and mcdaniels didn’t worry about Solder’s absence…
    … because… everyone knows the only flags new england’s offensive line sees
    are the bogus defensive holding penalties called against opponent’s defense.

  4. Sounds like a well run business. They’re not your friends, they’re co-workers; they’re also not monsters.

  5. So, the environment is one where players are held to a high standard of performance on the field but treated very family-like when personal issues arise. Yeah, sounds like a horrible place to work….SMH.

  6. I started my first full time job (45 hrs/wk) in 1979….and I worked directly under a retired Colonel who was part owner of the company. Doing your job right (and in the right way) was the expectation, you didn’t get praised for correctly doing something you are being paid to do right in the first place. Most times, the work was analyzed by what you may have done wrong, not by what you got right.

    Procedure, procedure, procedure….man you had better follow procedure. It was the basis for many jokes between my coworkers and I, and yet all these years later, I attribute many of my best work habits to working under that man.

    and oh yeah, I put up with that for $4.25/hr

  7. The first comment on this article is disturbing. Damn, it’s his son, his wife, his family. Life isn’t all about football, as much as I love it, and as much as I hate the Pats, this is life, not a damn game. Get some perspective.

  8. If you click on that link, especially if you have kids, get the Kleenex ready. I noticed it got very dusty in my office all of a sudden.

  9. As a father, I could not imagine going through something like that. Kudos to Belichick and McDaniels for handling it the way they did.

  10. I think it is very telling that even though he was very appreciative of them for them “allowing” him the chance to dip out of meetings, practice, etc to tend to his son that had cancer, that he still in a way hammered them about them being “cold” basically agreeing and giving credence to all the people like Lane Johnson who said they have no fun. I’m sure he didn’t intend to bash them, considering this was a “Thank You” message, but in a way he still did.

    Imagine what it was like now for all the players that didn’t have kids with cancer, because that is apparently what it takes to show some humanity in that locker room.

  11. This shows that even though Bill is tough on his players and demands excellence, he cares about them and their families.

    Bill B = G.O.A.T

  12. Big Nate – Thx for your great service as a true Patriot and best wishes for your son. Big mistake chasing the bucks and heading to the Giants – effectively going from the elite team of the NFL to one of the worst.

  13. “It’s very businesslike”

    Well, it’s a business and you are an employee, so there is that. No need to burn bridges that you may later need to cross.

  14. Perfect blend: A ‘cold’ business attitude when it comes to the business of football, but ‘warm’ and supportive as related to family issues.

  15. cem53 says:

    April 13, 2018 at 9:24 am

    This shows that even though Bill is tough on his players and demands excellence, he cares about them and their families.

    Bill B = G.O.A.T
    ————————
    I don’t see what the problem is.. Sounds like a well run team to me.

    -Raiders fan

  16. Sounds like BB & Josh only were supportive because it would make them look more heartless than they already are. Word spreads fast in the NFL if they were that cold against cancer. One day all the cold heartlessness will catch up with BB & The Pats. That’s why cheater legacy will always be with B.B. , Kraft, & TB.

  17. I can’t fathom how the miserable trolls could spin this, but I’m sure the usual suspects will try. Sounds like a great place to be – professional winning expectation combined with human considerations and feeling.

    Best of luck to Nate and his family as they move forward.

  18. They’ve had incredible success being ultra-businesslike. But recently they’ve had some issues with that apparently not being a two-way street. Butler’s apparent “crime” was he made a very rational, businesslike decision to clean out his locker a bit early since it was clear he wasn’t going to re-sign. That somehow was worth benching him for the Super Bowl because BB let things get personal. And Brady having his own doctor who he is also in business with on the side shouldn’t impact his relationship with BB provided his health, conditioning and overall play remain top-notch. (Even if BB and the doctor personally hate each other they have basically no direct contact so their relationship is irrelevant.) Yet that also seems to have become an issue with BB.

  19. Oh no, this team is run like a professional organization. Still, I hear winning can be fun.

  20. brendafortheboyz says:
    April 13, 2018 at 9:16 am
    “Cold”…..wow, I’m surprised….

    ———————–

    Except, you’ve been lied to by the media again. They used the word “cold” to dupe you.

    They then lumped it in to a completely opposite description, which is the real truth. If you just read the trollish head line in bold, you’ve been duped and lied to.

    This is how I know other teams owners, GMs and fans are quaking in their boots regarding the upcoming draft and what NE has done in free agency so far or with trades.

    They’re just doing anything in the media to lie and misrepresent, simply because NE lost a SB by a TD (even though Philly got 2 free TDs via cheater Goodell).

  21. pamiho32332013 says:
    April 13, 2018 at 8:59 am
    grab your popcorn, sit back and watch the implosion.

    ————————

    Prepare to be puking up that popcorn come January.

    My goodness are some of you in for a very rude awakening this season. The entire organization is taking notes with this crap. Believe me.

  22. usg1 says:
    April 13, 2018 at 9:24 am

    I’m sure he didn’t intend to bash them, considering this was a “Thank You” message, but in a way he still did.

    Imagine what it was like now for all the players that didn’t have kids with cancer, because that is apparently what it takes to show some humanity in that locker room.

    ——

    Solder clearly didn’t intend to bash them….in fact he stated that in his letter. And as far as your humanity comment….I suspect you didn’t read Solder’s entire letter (it is linked above)….because I can’t see how you would come to that conclusion if you had.

  23. Your coworkers are not your family. I don’t want my coworkers to be my family. I go to work to do one thing . . . work.

    In the end, the high expectations and demands on every member of the team is what allows everyone in the organization to receive paychecks every pay period. The paychecks are what allow you to build a life and a family.

    Eagle’s Fan

  24. uglydingo says:
    April 13, 2018 at 9:25 am
    Big Nate – Thx for your great service as a true Patriot and best wishes for your son. Big mistake chasing the bucks and heading to the Giants – effectively going from the elite team of the NFL to one of the worst.

    ——————————————–

    Yeah, Solder is in for a very rude awakening going to a rebuilding team that needs a new QB, has a horrible OL and holes all over the roster.

    I have to laugh at some of these guys that simply don’t realize how good they had it.

  25. No problem running it like a business and having high standards.

    But Bellicheck and Co have been proven to be systematic cheaters and liars.

    No respect.

  26. thudsp says:
    April 13, 2018 at 9:43 am
    Having spent his whole career in NE he may find the same atmosphere in the Big Apple.

    ——————-

    Trust me when I tell you, that no organization is run as professionally and efficiently as the Pats.

    I saw NE and NOs scrimmage in August of 2015 in W. Virginia, and just by the efficiency of the drills alone, you can see ONE reason why NE is 2 and 3 notches above everyone else. It’s not meant to be snobby, it’s just the truth.

    Solder will never play in a postseason game again.

    His choice.

  27. Solder not only dealt with his son’s cancer he had to deal with his own. Cannon dealt with cancer. Bruschi survived a stroke. Brady lost a year to a knee operation. Edelman lost a year to a knee operation. Gronk has had several injuries. Welker had a bad knee injury. Hightower has had injuries. Dion Lewis almost lost his career to injuries. Kevin Faulk was injured. Many of the key Patriots super bowl winners came from teams where they languished in mediocrity like Corey Dillon, Antowain Smith and Legarrette Blount. That type of adversity helps guys appreciate opportunity and winning. It builds a camaraderie.

    Solder, by all measures an outstanding individual, didn’t say life with the Patriots was cold. He said it could be cold. It also could be glorious.

  28. It’s funny how I read these eloquent writings from athlete’s on the Players’ Tribune. Then I see them interviewed in person and some of them can barely string a sentence together. Those pieces are edited to hell and back and a huge percentage probably aren’t even written by the athelete’s themselves.

  29. When it comes to Football they’re very business like and don’t care about your feelings. When it comes to serious life events they’ll do whatever they can for you. I’m not a NE guy but thats exactly how a Business and/or organization should be run.

  30. My son at 3 years old suffered from a ruptured appendix. My wife had just given birth to my daughter a week previously so I spent the entire week in the hospital with him since she needed to drive back and forth to nurse the baby while her parents assisted.

    There is no harder thing in the world than to see your young child suffering through something tramatic. Having gone through that with my son, I can’t even imagine how rough it would be to deal with something like cancer in a child.

    Kudos to the Pats for the support they gave Nate, I’m sure his thankfulness is entirely genuine and people are taking his cold comment way out of proportion. Read the article and you’ll get an entirely different perspective on what he’s talking about.

  31. And what was Belichick and No Integrity McDaniels supposed to say:team first. If they did, they should be given the one fingered salute.

  32. tylawspick6 says:
    April 13, 2018 at 10:10 am
    Yeah, Solder is in for a very rude awakening going to a rebuilding team that needs a new QB, has a horrible OL and holes all over the roster.

    I have to laugh at some of these guys that simply don’t realize how good they had it.
    ————————————————————————-
    Don’t begrudge a man who has worked so hard his payday and financial security for the family. Medical bills can be horrendous and being on additional Super Bowl teams wouldn’t change that reality.

  33. Cold? He leaves out the story about how he decided to get hitched basically overnight and how the Patriots let him skip a couple of training camp practice in early 2014. Yeah, really cold.

  34. tigerlilac says:
    April 13, 2018 at 10:14 am
    Solder not only dealt with his son’s cancer he had to deal with his own. Cannon dealt with cancer. Bruschi survived a stroke. Brady lost a year to a knee operation. Edelman lost a year to a knee operation. Gronk has had several injuries. Welker had a bad knee injury. Hightower has had injuries. Dion Lewis almost lost his career to injuries. Kevin Faulk was injured. Many of the key Patriots super bowl winners came from teams where they languished in mediocrity like Corey Dillon, Antowain Smith and Legarrette Blount. That type of adversity helps guys appreciate opportunity and winning. It builds a camaraderie.

    Solder, by all measures an outstanding individual, didn’t say life with the Patriots was cold. He said it could be cold. It also could be glorious.

    1 0 Rate This
    —————————

    Right, but if you only read the title, which most morons in our country do on their smartphones, as they dumb themselves down daily, then you think something else.

    These are the same people who believe Roger Goodell when he lies, too.

    It’s an IQ problem in our society. The more technology we create, the dumber we become.

  35. u4iadman says:
    April 13, 2018 at 10:12 am
    No problem running it like a business and having high standards.

    But Bellicheck and Co have been proven to be systematic cheaters and liars.

    No respect.

    ————————-

    False. You have it 100% backwards. The cheating owners with Goodell have been proven to be cheaters and liars.

    Don’t force me to post the Bill Cowher interview.

  36. “It’s a place where people sometimes treat you differently based on how you practiced that day or how you answered a question in a meeting. One day, you could walk around the facility feeling like a Pro Bowler — the next, like you’re about to get cut.” I’ve worked for organizations like that (not in pro football, certainly, but in the business world). Every day you have to live in fear that you’ll be out of a job if someone decides they don’t like you. Operating in a fear-based work environment is no way to go through life. Unfortunately, “What have you done for me lately?” is still the modus operandi in many, many organizations. It would be helpful if organizations would treat their employees like valuable assets instead of probably liabilities. Today, I’m fortunate: I love my job, am respected and appreciated in my organization, and don’t worry that I’ll be fired if I make a mistake.

  37. I’m a Packers fan and it’s easy to see why they win: accountability. You don’t perform and you’re out. Amazing how even pro athletes are motivated by the real threat of job loss from under performance and what it does to their effort

  38. Look, I hate the Pats but they have been doing it right for almost 20 years. That shade is there to keep you motivated. And football is a business so there should be no surprise other than the Hoodie does a great job at hiding his empathy, even to a guy who played for him for 7 years. Almost as if Solder was surprised by his coach’s compassion.

  39. I’m an Eagles fan and I disagree with Lane Johnson’s comments. I think Lane who befriended former Patriot Chris Long, was too swayed by Long’s opinion. But, remember the millennial generation as they are labeled are coddled and everyone gets and deserves a trophy. I think the Patriots are like just about every other NFL team and they can put life above football when the situation calls for it.

  40. No problem running it like a business and having high standards.

    But Bellicheck and Co have been proven to be systematic cheaters and liars.

    No respect.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Please explain how they have been “proven to be systematic cheaters and liars”. Here is your forum…….try not to trip over yourself with the same old dribble.

  41. In other words…exactly how things should be run. I’m no fan of the Patriots, but there’s zero wrong with their methodology.

  42. None of this is surprising. Work hard, probably long hours, and be held accountable.

    But family comes first.

    We have been witnessing this culture in NE for years through the GOAT, TB12.

  43. Same where I am. Everybody’s happy – if you perform.

    Sounds like some of these other teams are just good time charlie.

    Doesn’t work out here, either. At least Not For Long.

  44. OH, It’s work. You come in and approach it like real business and if you have personal or family issues to deal with that comes first. Sounds like every company I’ve ever worked for. Management is serious with the Pats when it’s time to work. I wish management at my company were that serious so we could weed out the deadbeats that don’t do their job. That’s not cold..It’s work. There’s plenty of time for fun the other 16 hours of the day.

  45. It’s not surprising that the Pats take on the personality of their head coach. There are many ways to successfully run an NFL team, and Belichick found one way to do so — nothing wrong with that at all as long as he’s successful.

  46. u4iadman says:
    April 13, 2018 at 10:12 am
    No problem running it like a business and having high standards.
    But Bellicheck and Co have been proven to be systematic cheaters and liars.
    No respect.

    —————

    Why is it that people that are so obsessed with hating on Belichick can never spell his name.

  47. In a sport where success is measured in 40 second increments and then reset to be measured again.
    In a sport where your JOB depends on W/L.
    In a sport where last years winner is on the “what have you done for me lately” clock as soon as the season is over.
    Yeah, “cold” is actually pretty far up the warm and fuzzy chain to what I would think it would be like.
    I notice the headline led with “cold” rather than the “whatever you need you got it” side of the story………..

  48. When you pay your employees millions of dollars a year, you should be running it a hundred times tighter then an average business. It should be about current performance. Of course smart business people can still separate out the human element from that and do the right thing for their employees. This is exactly how it should work.

  49. bullcharger says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Why is it that people that are so obsessed with hating on Belichick can never spell his name.
    ___________________________________________________

    Perhaps it has something to do with hating and ignorance going hand in hand.
    The hater is always more disturbed than the hated.

  50. Fail to understand the need for media to try to find different ways to discredit the Patriots.. as a loyal fan if BB and his crew did things differently than they did here I would be surprised…

    How they treated Solder with respect to Hunter is what I expect from this organization..

    IMO if you are making 8+ million a year being held accountable is expected.. there are several teams with low expectations and they have a very low standard and a very low success rate..

  51. Nate is a very good player and wish his son the best.

    Feel bad for misguided fans of Pats who wrongly believe Pats didn’t get caught and punished for multiple cheating instances. Owner, players, coach. The organization is but a disgrace.

    Proven.

  52. Not a Pats fan, but the organization should be looked at on how to run a team successfully. They are well disciplined and have very strong leadership with one message. They are very fortunate the key players bought in such as Brady and have had successful continuity all these years. Of course they’re “cold”. It’s a competitive business. That doesn’t mean they are not also humans and parents as well. I like to think that most teams would have treated Solder the same as the Pats.

  53. Pats deserve credit when warranted, and blame as well when warranted. Belichick is actually a pretty decent guy overall, but his job is not to be someone’s buddy. His job is to win. He has done it better than anyone in the modern era. I am not a Pats fan, but there is no debate the guy has gotten the job done better than any of his contemporaries, and quite possibly better than anyone who came before him, especially when you factor in the salary cap and free agency.
    Sports is not the same as the real world, and this example shows Belichick understands that there is a difference, and you can be what you need to be for your job, and still be yourself at the end of the day…like all of us.

  54. Perhaps it has something to do with hating and ignorance going hand in hand.
    The hater is always more disturbed than the hated.

    It seems interesting that Patriot fans are obsessed with the term”haters” using as an answer to all that don’t agree to their point of view…now that is disturbing.

  55. Excellent read.

    I must say your intro to this article is misleading. It gives the impression that the Patriots did not care about Solder or his issue when in fact they went above and beyond.

  56. I was fortunate in my career to receive excellent mentorship and advise. One of the those involved relationships in the workplace. My first boss told me straight up: Son this is a great company, highly competitive and folks are cordial and professional. With that said remember this you have no friends here. Its business.

  57. Wow , that is so nice, since your son has cancer you are allowed to “Dip” out of the meeting, not miss the meeting just ” Dip “out ,what great guys

  58. The Patriots is a blue collar team and they go by merit not by names. Even Brady knows that he has to earn his job. It “ can” be cold is not the same as “ were” cold. There’s a nuance there. How many real elite, freaky players retired and will retire without winning a SB? Look at the scrubs and the rejects that BB took a chance on. They have SB because the Patriots system is demanding but nurtures the best in the players. Look at other teams acquiring players and personnel from the Patriots. My guess is, those teams want to replicate the Patriots success. The Patriots is not for every players. They may not be “ fun” everything goes and players’ egos aren’t massaged but curtailed. To each his own. But it’s also a place with a heart. Proud of the Patriots.

  59. Nofoolnodrool says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:49 am

    It seems interesting that Patriot fans are obsessed with the term”haters” using as an answer to all that don’t agree to their point of view…now that is disturbing.
    ———————

    Sounds like an appropriate term for describing people that hate the Patriots. It’s better than using idiots, which would be even more appropriate.

    *Not a Patriots fan*

  60. Christian Fauria, who is now a radio personality in Boston, put it best. He was not unhappy to leave NE and sign with Washington. Once he got there he realized why NE won consistently and other teams don’t.

    If Christian Fauria said this and you’ve repeated it, you both need to read Nate Solder’s story again.

  61. wow… anybody that bothered to read Nate’s article would read that headline and laugh. If “Cold” is what you got out of the article there is seriously something wrong with you.

  62. I think the Patriots expect you do your job and handle your business. Those are things under your personal control. Belichick’s dad was at the Naval Academy. That’s a military style. But even the military lets you have “emergency leave.” That’s not because your great uncle Fred has athlete’s foot or your 8th cousin got shot on the street or because your baby mama is giving birth and the baby is not in danger. But if its real personal to you and its a real issue they cut you a break. I’ll give props to the Patriots on that. They probably don’t want to be hard heads, but all organizations have problems with employees with all kinds of emergencies in their outer sphere that probably don’t truly need their attention away from job. Millennials taking mental health days, etc. Phooey.

  63. u4iadman says:
    April 13, 2018 at 11:31 am
    Nate is a very good player and wish his son the best.

    Feel bad for misguided fans of Pats who wrongly believe Pats didn’t get caught and punished for multiple cheating instances. Owner, players, coach. The organization is but a disgrace.

    Proven.
    ———————-
    Proof is what Lying Roger says it is. Ask Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Payton.

  64. Here’s a nice story about a solid player speaking about the health issues of his young son. Of course the trolls have to mention cheating, derogatory statements about Belichick, Brady and Mcdaniels. These consistent trolls even keep repeating lies and innuendo that have been proven to be nothing more than wishful thinking on the haters part. Sorry that these trolls are fans of losing teams, then again they wouldn’t recognize the difference between a good team and a bad one.

  65. Christian Fauria, who is now a radio personality in Boston, put it best. He was not unhappy to leave NE and sign with Washington. Once he got there he realized why NE won consistently and other teams don’t.

    ****************
    Because Tom Brady plays for NE and gets paid half his value, and not Washington

  66. One time I was at a function hosted by Jim Brown and BB was there to support him, I paraphrase what Jim Brown said, but it was something to the effect:

    “If Michael Jordan did half as much as BB did for the community, the world would be a different place”.. that happened in 2000 when BB first appeared on the scene. Unfortunately, at that time just thought he was just another jag…

    With BB what you see is not necessarily, what you get..

  67. More businesslike and more human at the same time.

    That combination explains their uniquely sustained form of success.

  68. From his own words the way BB and Daniels handled his situation was in NO WAY COLD.
    All I see is that it’s your job and you are paid from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars depending on which player you are,so yes a lot is expected from each and every player. There is a reason they have won more games then any other team. BB is at the top of that list.

  69. “Of course you’re free to dip out. You’re also free to be playing for Cleveland next Sunday.”

    The internet makes people stupid.

  70. no wonder they win more than anyone. they have the toughest, most disciplined team, with the greatest level of mutual respect.

    That’s just BS. Without Brady you would be an after thought……and it’s closer to the end than the beginning só Pat’s fans like Mmack666 will soon disappear behind momm’s Apron in fear.

  71. ‘It seems interesting that Patriot fans are obsessed with the term”haters” using as an answer to all that don’t agree to their point of view…now that is disturbing.’
    ______________________________

    And just like that the theory that hating and ignorance go hand in hand gets proved out.

  72. And just like that the theory that hating and ignorance go hand in hand gets proved out.

    Because you disagree there is no need to go Trump with the snark and bullying. Grow up fake veteran and realize only kids use the hater term and cant deal with a different point of view. You spent too much time talking to fake elephants.

  73. Great player and person.

    Pats however, not so much.

    Coach caught cheating several times now.

    Organization smells of low integrity thru and thru.

  74. What a class individual Nate Solder is. I guess that is why his departure from the Patriots bums me out more than any other over the last decade.

    For those of you who don’t know, Nate had battled his own cancer a year or two earlier. He is too classy to bring that focus on himself.

    Nate, all the best to you and your wife and your children. Good father you are.

  75. So what he saying is the Patriots have a high standard of excellence and expectations, and they expect you to meet those standards, but they also treated him well. Gotcha.

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