New York Giants player Nate Solder has decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL season amid the coronavirus pandemic, and his reason for doing so is heart-wrenching.
The offensive tackle, 32, cited family concerns, including his 5-year-old son Hudson's battle with cancer and his own bout with cancer back in 2014. He also has a newborn son.
On Wednesday, the father of three made the announcement, saying in a joint statement with his family, "My family and I have been praying, wrestling and listening to God about our current circumstances and whether it is best to play football this season. Our primary goal is to pursue God and listen to the Holy Spirit in everything we do. As hard as that can be and as daunting as what He asks us to do can seem, we have come to believe, trust and wait on the Lord.
"This is why we have chosen to pause for this season," the statement continued.
"Our family has health concerns, most notably our son's ongoing battle with cancer, as well as my own bout with cancer. We also welcomed a new addition to our family this spring, a baby boy," Solder said. "With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children's health and the health of our neighbors comes before football."
In 2015, Hudson was diagnosed with rare Wilms tumors in his kidneys when he was just three months old. According to Boston.com, he underwent surgery to have one of the tumors removed last year and had his third round of chemotherapy during Solder's 2019 season.
"Lexi and I cried the entire drive," Solder wrote in a 2018 essay for The Players’ Tribune about learning of his son's diagnosis with the rare form of kidney cancer.
"Hudson was our first child. So Lexi and I were still brand new parents. You can understand our grief. But for me, I was overcome by guilt as much as anything. I couldn’t shake the idea that I was Hudson’s father. It was my job to protect him from everything, at all times. And I felt like I hadn’t done that."
Solder himself is a cancer survivor as well. In 2014, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer during a routine physical when he played for the New England Patriots.
"I spoke with Nate this morning," Giants' head coach Joe Judge Judge said in a statement on Wednesday. "We were together in New England, obviously, and he has always been a thoughtful, conscientious person. Ultimately, he made this decision because it is the right thing for him and his family. We support Nate and Lexi and their children (son) Hudson, (daughter) Charlie and (son) Emerson. Our concern is for their health and well-being."
In his statement on Wednesday, Solder concluded, "As scary and bleak as it sometimes can be, we know that God of the universe has all things under His control, and His plans are and will always be for our good."