Patriots star Nate Solder's toughest battle happens off the field

Matt Slocum, AP

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Nate Solder plays left tackle for the New England Patriots, one of Tom Brady's bodyguards on the team's offensive line. He's massive -- 6 feet 8 inches, 320 pounds. 

But cancer has blindsided him twice.  

"You think it's something that older people get, and people that smoke cigarettes and that sort of thing," Solder said. "That's not the case at all."

In 2014, Solder had surgery for testicular cancer and kept playing. The next year, cancer hit home again when Solder and his wife Lexi's first child, Hudson, was three months old.

"We were giving him a bath, we felt a lump on his side which felt weird, you know," said Lexi.

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Nate Solder and his wife Lexi have dealt with cancer more than once

CBS News

Hudson was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer.

"Hudson has tumors in both kidneys and then in each kidney, he has multiple tumors," Lexi said.

A year of chemotherapy shrank Hudson's tumors. But three months ago, they started growing again, requiring the 2-year-old to go back on chemo.

"We have faith that it will get better, I totally believe he will be ok," said Lexi.

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New England Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder and his son Hudson

CBS News

When the Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl last year, Hudson was in Houston. It's the NFL's ultimate moment, but not Solder's. Not anymore.

"My biggest worry, all my concerns were coming from football," Solder said. "Now football is a way that I can release from all the stresses in life."

Solder protects Brady on the field, but he'd do anything to protect his son from this.

"You get cancer, it doesn't matter who you are," Solder said. "It knocks anyone out. You realize we're all human beings and we all struggle and we all have these battles we go through."

For the Solders, Hudson's battle could redefine the meaning of winning. 

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.