Nate Solder doesn’t care if he starts as he battles to make Giants’ roster

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Giants offensive lineman Nate Solder missed only 13 games in his first nine NFL seasons. He missed all 16 games last season.

Solder, 33, opted out of last season over COVID-19 concerns as he and his son, Hudson, are cancer survivors.

Solder has not played a game since Dec. 29, 2019, but the Giants welcomed him back after he agreed to a reduction in his salary.

“I’m just thankful they gave me the opportunity to come back,” Solder said Wednesday, via Michael Eisen of the team website. “There’s no guarantees with that. And the other thing was just excitement. I was excited to come back. I was ready to come back and those were the determining factors. Sitting down with my wife (Lexi) and making the decision and all that stuff was a group decision between me and her.

“My mindset was if I can be somewhere where I’m fulfilling my purpose, where I can be around guys that have the same set of values and goals and myself, it’s a real honor and it’s a privilege to be part of the NFL. I would say I missed the excitement and fun of being a part of it, so I’m fortunate to be in this position.”

Much has changed in the year Solder was out. The Giants have a new head coach and a new position coach since Solder last played. They have a new left tackle, too, with 2020 first-round draft choice Andrew Thomas having replaced Solder.

“One of the great things about coming back is just the opportunity to work with a group of guys,” said Solder, who signed a four-year, $62 million deal with the Giants in 2018 as a free agent. “Who cares who starts? I just want to be a part of an excellent group that’s getting better every day that plays at a really high level. I’ve been fortunate enough to play with some great O-lines, and nobody cares who is starting and who is not starting, because we’re all part of the team and we’re all necessary and we’re all needed. So, if I can encourage, protect, guide, lead and compete, whatever it takes, I’m here to do it.”

Solder, though, has no promises: He will have to win a roster spot despite his 127 career starts.