New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder released a statement on Twitter Wednesday afternoon explaining that he will be opting out of the 2020 season, saying that the health of his family is his first priority.
The news comes as groups of Giants’ veterans begin to arrive at the facilities for COVID-19 testing prior to the start of camp.
The Giants expressed their support for Solder in a statement on their website.
“We have great respect for Nate as a person and player,” general manager Dave Gettleman said. “When he called today, I told him it is faith, family and football. He is doing what’s best for his family.”
Head coach Joe Judge echoed the same sentiments. Solder spent his first seven seasons in New England, including the last six when Judge was with the Patriots as an assistant.
“I spoke with Nate this morning,” Judge said. “We were together in New England, obviously, and he has always been a thoughtful, conscientious person. Ultimately, he made this decision because it is the right thing for him and his family. We support Nate and Lexi and their children (son) Hudson, (daughter) Charlie and (son) Emerson. Our concern is for their health and well-being.”
Solder has expressed his interest in player safety on social media in the past.
If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020. It’s that simple.— Nate Solder (@soldernate) July 10, 2020
Ultimately, Solder has concerns over and above his own health or performance on the football field. His son, Hudson, has been engaged in a four-year long fight against cancer. According to the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz, the left tackle wasn’t at the Giants’ facility for testing with other veterans on Tuesday because he was with his family as his son received further treatment in Boston. Nobody can fault him for deciding to opt out of the season.
A number of important players around the league have already opted out, including starting Kansas City Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and New England Patriots starters Patrick Chung, Marcus Cannon, and Dont’a Hightower. Seeing starters on several teams opt out of the season has to help ease the stigma for players feeling uneasy about the decision. Solder becomes the first player on the Giants to opt out.