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Nate Solder, Ryan Wendell among New England Patriots captains

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With the NFL opener fast approaching, the New England Patriots have voted for captains, and there is a mix of familiar faces and newcomers to the role.

The newcomers are starting left tackle Nate Solder and center/guard Ryan Wendell. They fill the void created when last season's captain along the offensive line, Dan Connolly, retired this offseason.

Solder joined the team as a first-round draft choice in 2011, while Wendell signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008.

In addition, defensive end Rob Ninkovich could be viewed as a first-time captain, even though he served in the role in 2013 when he was appointed during the season after injuries to linebacker Jerod Mayo and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.

Other captains this season include Mayo, quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver/specialist Matthew Slater and safety Devin McCourty, all of whom have held the role in the past.