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Light: Giants’ Solder tough to replace for Patriots

The Sports Xchange

May 17, 2018 at 10:46 am.

Matt Light was honored to be the next player inducted into the New England Patriots’ Hall of Fame, but that didn’t stop the former left tackle from talking about a player who replaced him and no longer is a part of the team.

Nate Solder, who replaced Light at left tackle in 2012, signed a four-year, $62 million contract with the New York Giants during this offseason. The 6-foot-8, 314-pound Solder has been a mainstay on the Patriots’ offensive line, starting at least 15 games in six of his seven NFL seasons.

“From the first time I met him, I thought, ‘Man, this just shouldn’t be right that big guys like this are designed the way they are,’ the 39-year-old Light said, via ESPN.com. “No fat. Runs like a deer. Got the reach and wingspan of a vulture. The guy is just unbelievably talented in so many ways, and he’s smart, a cerebral player. You don’t replace a guy like that overnight.”

Perhaps not overnight, but Light said that offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is someone who can get the job done.

“They survived me going through that first year of being lost in so many ways and trying to figure out things on the run,” Light said. “I would say this, for all the fans out there, it’s been documented but I’m not sure it’s been appreciated as it should be, but the work Dante does and the work he puts into the offseason — and the work he puts into the young guys that are coming into the organization and how he motivates those guys and pushes them to be in the best position possible to play the game — I’ve got a lot of confidence in his ability to prepare the guys he thinks are the best to take the field.”

The Patriots selected offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn out of Georgia with one of their two first-round picks last month.

Solder, 30, appeared in four Super Bowls, including a loss to the Giants during his first season in 2011, when he was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team.

A first-round draft pick out of Colorado in 2011, Solder started 95 of 98 regular-season games and 16 postseason contests for the Patriots.

Light served as protection for quarterback Tom Brady during his 11 seasons (2001-11) with the Patriots, helping the team win nine AFC East titles, five conference crowns and three Super Bowl championships.

He played in 155 regular-season games and 20 postseason contests.