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AFC East Q&A: Nate Solder

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rookie offensive tackle Nate Solder has fit in well with the New England Patriots. He's filled in admirably for injured veteran right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who may return for the Super Bowl.

This week the AFC East blog caught up with New England's first-round pick to get his thoughts leading into Super Bowl XLVI.

Nate, not a lot of rookies play for this organization in their first year. What was your expectations when you were drafted?

Nate Solder: I didn't know what my role was going to be. Early on [in the offseason], I didn’t know if Matt [Light] was coming back. So there were a lot of question marks. It was just about me coming in and being ready and learning the offense as quickly as a could.

As a rookie, have you ever thought about the importance of your job protecting future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady?

NS: Yeah, but a lot of that pressure is taken off by Tom himself. He doesn’t treat himself any differently. He’s just one of the guys. He’s obviously a great player, a great competitor and a great teammate. So it’s good to be a part of that group.

What did you think of New England using you as a blocking tight end this season?

NS: I played tight end in high school, and I played tight end two years at Colorado. My role has kind of become this flexible tight end/tackle, and I’m really doing whatever it takes. Whatever they asked me to do, I’m happy to do that. It’s equaled to wins so I’m happy.

Can you catch? Be honest.

NS: [Laughs] Yes. I played tight end in high school and had several touchdowns and all that. I can probably still probably catch [laughs]. I don’t have a whole lot of opportunities for it. I was playing catch [earlier this week]. It's just for fun. Last time in a game was sophomore year in college. I caught three passes.