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.”