Solder looking to gain weight

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder has been thrust into the spotlight in recent days after talk continues about the possible retirement of veteran tackle Matt Light.

Solder spoke to reporters at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, and was asked about Light's influence on his development after being drafted 17th overall last season.

"Matt's been great. He helps me," Solder said. "He helps me to continue to develop. He knows a lot about the game. He has a ton of experience. It's been really good having him here."

If Light's retirement becomes official, Solder is the overwhelming candidate to take Light's job as the starting left tackle. The second-year Colorado product said he is aiming to gain weight this offseason.

"I'd like to get bigger, stronger, maybe taller," the six-foot-eight Solder said, joking about his height. "I've been trying to gain weight since I was a freshman in college. I can tell you that has been a struggle for me. So I continue to try to gain weight."

Solder said that he currently weighs about 310 pounds, but would like to bulk up to about 320 or 330 pounds, and is eating four or five meals a day in addition to protein shakes.

"It's not hard to gain a lot of weight that's not going to help you play football," Solder said. "It's hard [to gain muscle] because it takes a lot in the weight room. You got to be lifting hard because you want to gain muscle, and you want to stay fast, you want to stay flexible."