BOSTON (CBS) — Nate Solder walked off the football field on Thursday with a gigantic smile on his face.
It wasn’t because the left tackle was back in action as the Patriots kicked off their 2016 training camp. Solder was happy to, for the first time, share the practice field with his 1-year-old son Hudson.
Solder has had a tough road back from a biceps tear that ended his 2015 season in Week 5. But he knows that was nothing compared to the battle Hudson has fought. A month before Solder suffered his injury last year, Hudson was diagnosed with tumors in both of his kidneys. Numerous rounds of chemotherapy have followed, but on Thursday, the Solder boys finally got play around on the practice field in Foxboro.
It’s moments like this where you take a step back and can’t help but smile from ear to ear.
“Most days with us, we’re just a normal family. Sometimes there’s that stark reminder where things are a little different. But that’s what we’ve been dreaming about, having him out here running around and playing,” Solder told reporters on Thursday. “We have so much to look forward to with our relationship with him. We’re lucky to have him.”
Solder, who battled testicular cancer in 2014, announced his young son’s battle at an event put on by The Joe Andruzzi Foundation last November. Since that night, the family has received support from near and far, which has gone a long way in Hudson’s fight.
“We have gotten incredible support from so many unknown places and areas. It’s a whole new world of people who have just come up and loved us and helped us through this,” he said Thursday.
While football obviously took a backseat, Solder said it did provide a bit of a breather during some tough times.
“I had a lot on my mind, but the truth was I’d come in and talk about football and it was kind of a break from everything that was going on in our personal life. To come out here and be with the guys, it’s really a blessing,” he said.
Solder said he’s healthy again and sounds ready to protect Tom Brady’s blindside in a few months, after he does the same for Jimmy Garoppolo over the first four games of the season.
“I’m feeling awesome, absolutely wonderful,” he said, with that smile shining bright. “I’m so glad to be out here, my body is feeling great and that’s a blessing.”