In what can be a, “here today, gone tomorrow,” business where cheaper youth often supersedes more expensive aging experience, it’s not often you see veteran NFL players openly willing to train the guys that will eventually take their jobs. This goes even beyond the NFL. Just think in everyday jobs; how many people would be willing to train a person they knew were basically taking their job? Patriots left tackle Matt Light, a 10-year veteran of the team and a guy who has protected Tom Brady’s blindside through three Super Bowl championships and a perfect regular season, has stated that he’s going to do just that.
The Patriots drafted offensive tackle Nate Solder from Colorado this past April, and Bill Belichick in his post-draft press conference said unequivocally that Solder was a left tackle. It seemed, with Matt Light entering free agency, that his time may have been over in New England. However, thanks perhaps in part to the NFL lockout preventing players from accessing coaches, playbooks, and mini-camps, Light’s services were needed once again. Without a complete offseason training program with the team, there was very little chance Solder is ready to block the blindside of the most important player in New England.
If he wanted to, Matt Light could simply come in, do his job, and let the rookie figure things out on his own. That was the tact Brett Favre took with Aaron Rodgers when they were together in Green Bay. Not the case with Mr. Light. Here’s what Matt Light said in an interview on Wednesday when asked about the drafting of Solder:
"You know, competition is the name of the game. There’s always going to be guys pushing everybody at every level when you have a coach like Bill [Belichick] and the rest of the staff. I think it’s a good thing, it drives all of us — that’s why we’re out here, we’re out here to compete, compete against each other, compete against the opponent. Drafting a guy to come and fill in for these old bones — it was inevitable, so hopefully we’ll have some fun teaching him a thing or two out here."
With Solder signed, in camp and his first practice under his belt, the competition has begun. Solder had a solid first practice, so the competition may be stiff. Perhaps the lack of an offseason won’t affect Nate Solder’s readiness to play Week One. Either way, Matt Light, a true team player and a class act, will be there.