Kraft: Solder 'a team guy all the way'

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Kraft: Solder 'a team guy all the way'

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; If we didnt learn enough about Nate Solder during Thursdaynights conference call, the Patriots 2011 first-round pick was presented tothe media at Gillette Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Solder walked from the tunnel to an elevated stage at the50-yard line with Robert and Jonathan Kraft. A personalized Patriots jersey wasthen presented to the offensive tackle.

It was then that Robert Kraft told a story that, in a way,summed up what Solder is all about.

Every year, when we come down, I say, Give me a story that I can tell the mediathat we chatted about,' said Kraft. ' Whats special about this connection? AndNate said, Well, in my name, Solder, theres no I. Im a team guy all theway. So that just says it all.

Solder had a 6 a.m. flight this morning, and said that hesbeen living by the minute since he got that phone call from the Patriots onThursday night.

As sleep deprived as he was, Solder wasnt hiding the factthat he was everything a typical New England Patriot stands for. He proclaimedhimself a team guy that leads by example.

By the time everything got wrapped up last night, afterbeing drafted, its been a pretty long day for me, said Solder. I flew outhere, and meeting these coaches, and meeting these owners, has been a realhonor and privilege.

Ive always been rooting for the Patriots, because theyvehad a lot of great years. It hasnt been hard to be a fan of the Patriots.

I think Mr. Kraft was the one that kind of pointed out the impressiverecord that they have here at this stadium, he said. So that was the firstthought that came to mind. They win a lot of games here. They do things righthere.

Solder said he realizes he has a lot of things to improveupon, but wouldnt touch on any specific area, comparing it to adjusting to thecollege game, coming out of high school.

Ive never really paid too much attention to analysts,said Solder. Ive always felt that Im a strong, powerful player, but I alwayshave things to develop and get better at.

Its safe to say that he wont have to improve his huntingskills. Not because hes a great hunter, but because there isnt much huntingin Massachusetts.

Solder had traveled miles and miles while in Colorado, tohunt for elk. But in his hunting career, hes only shot 1 elk, and it happenedto be just a few miles away from his house.

Its funny, because I probably have been hunting for about10 or 15 years, chasing after elk, and Ive only shot one, joked Solder. Sothat tells you how good of a hunter I am, I guess.

And forget football and hunting, Solder nearly playedbasketball in college, at the Dartmouth College. But luckily for him and thePatriots, he choose to stay in Colorado and play football.

I chose football as the route that I would take, saidSolder. And Im so glad that I did, because it was a great five years atColorado, and I love the sport, and Im happy to be here today.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

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Easley on character concerns: 'It's all rumors' until sources step forward

When Dominique Easley was released by the Patriots this spring, it wasn't because he wasn't productive when he was on the field. In fact, on a per-snap basis, he was one of the most productive interior pass-rushers in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Instead, there were some off-the-field factors, as well as injury concerns, that led to the Patriots choosing to cut ties with their 2014 first-round pick. 

As our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran put it, there were "philosophical differences" between Easley and the team.

Other, more scathing reports of Easley's impact in New England were released, including one report from the Boston Globe that included a quote from a former teammate saying he was a "locker room cancer."

Since then, Easley has landed with the Rams and has a chance to contribute to one of the most talented defensive lines in football. In an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Phil Savage and Amber Theoharis, Easley said he hopes that his new team will get to see that he's a better person than some have indicated.

"Just really," Easley said, "just hopefully that the Rams get to see what a great person and a great hardworker I am, and really, just a great person."

Easley went on to say that he's not sure who would speak of him negatively or why. He explained that it's not his "main goal" to prove there's nothing to worry about with his character, but clearly it's somewhere on the list. 

"There's been, obviously, stuff said about me," Easley said. "We don't know where it came from. I would say the person doesn't want to come out and say it, neither. As far as I know, it's all rumors until that person comes out and say that it was from them, and they can prove that they actually know who I am, or been around me long enough to know who I am and how I am as a person."

PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

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PFT: NFL plans to interview Manning about Al Jazeera PED allegations

Peyton Manning is retired, but that doesn't mean he's exempt from the interviews that the NFL plans to conduct as it looks into the allegations made by Al Jazeera's December PED documentary. 

It was reported last week by USA Today that the league's senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch informed the NFLPA that players named in Al Jazeera's report would be interviewed in July. 

Among those scheduled to be interviewed are Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Former Packers linebacker Mike Neal will also be interviewed.

(Harrison has taken issue with the league's request, and said on social media that he would only meet with the league if commissioner Roger Goodell showed up to his home.)

Manning was not mentioned in the letter obtained by USA Today detailing the league's interview plans, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk followed up on Monday to see if the NFL intended to speak with Manning. It does.

The former Broncos and Colts quarterback has been very vocal about just how strongly he denies Al Jazeera's claim that his wife, Ashley, received HGH for his use. Despite the fact that he's no longer playing, it will come as no surprise if, given his stance, Manning cooperates fully with the league as it seeks more information regarding the report. 

As Florio points out, if Manning hopes to return to the NFL at some point as an executive -- as many believe he will -- this is something he'll want to put to bed beforehand. That process will start with an interview.