FOXBORO -- Reports of Matt Light's impending retirement have likely reached Nate Solder's ears. But if the team has had internal discussions of how one tackle's career will impact the other's, Solder isn't saying.
"I don't know what my role is going to be," he told reporters Thursday. "Right now, my mindset is to get better. There's a lot I have to improve on and that's what I'm going to work on right now and improve on."
Little else was expected from the second-year Patriot. Solder said at a March Pop Warner event that he does feel he was brought to New England to be a starter, and that he's excited at the prospect. But Solder's tone was respectfully different with the end of Light's career seemingly around the corner.
"Matt's been great," he said. "He helps me -- 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."
Being compared to Light's 11-year career could daunt even a 6-foot-8, 310-pound Patriot. Experience carries its own weight, after all. Solder said that, despite the fact he's no longer a rookie, he's "still the new guy" in some respects.
Think of the leadership that will be lost with Light's departure.
Solder was reminded of the draft day call he received from Logan Mankins. The then six-year veteran wanted to welcome Solder into the fold and guide the rookie through the acclimation process. Could Solder see himself making such a call if New England drafts another offensive lineman?
"I definitely see Logan as a great leader, and that did mean a lot to me. I'll do what's appropriate. I don't know exactly if that's my duty on this team, but whatever is my role, I'll definitely play it."
One gets the impression Solder is capable of answering the bell. He just plans to wait until it rings.