New York Giants offensive lineman Nate Solder became the most high-profile player to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season, as the former first-round draft pick announced his difficult decision on Wednesday. Solder said, after consulting with his family, he has decided to pause for this season.
A major factor for Solder? His son, who is battling cancer. Having a high-risk child changes the equation completely. Solder himself is a cancer survivor, having battled testicular cancer five years ago.
— Nate Solder (@soldernate) July 29, 2020
“Our family has health concerns, most notably our son’s ongoing battle with cancer, as well as my own bout with cancer. We also welcomed a new addition to our family this spring, a baby boy,” Solder said in his statement. “With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football.”
Solder is giving up a lot trading a season as an offensive tackle for a season just as a dad. He would’ve made nearly $10 million in salary to play the 2020 season. Instead, he’ll collect the $350,000 stipend $9.9 million this season and now will collect only the $350,000 stipend the NFL is allowing for high-risk players who opt-out.
Solder has made a name for himself with a long career (by NFL standards) marked by being a starter on several Super Bowl-winning teams, but even more so by his actions off the field. Solder is a giant of a player (he’s 6-9 and over 300 pounds), but his heart is even bigger, as he’s made a habit of supporting multiple charities and causes. His outstanding charity work earned him a nomination for the NFL’s “Man of the Year” award on multiple occasions throughout his career.
Nate Solder deserves respect and compassion for what had to be an incredibly difficult decision, especially when his own health and the health of his son are the issue.
If you’re celebrating this, get a grip on your priorities and your humanity.
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) July 29, 2020
Giant head coach Joe Judge, who also was a coach on the Patriots staff while Solder was in New England, said Nate made the decision that was best for his family, and that the entire organization supported him in that decision.