Spring 2021 Magazine

N.Y. Giants' Nate Solder joins 'Team Up' live show, donates $1 million to Compassion International

New York Giants offensive lineman Nate Solder, who will play his 10th NFL season in 2020, has been affectionately described as a “big teddy bear.” He’s big, as easily seen in his 6-foot-8, 325-pound frame, and he’s kind, as easily seen in his work with organizations like Compassion International.

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In a live video event Wednesday night, he also explained how he genuinely cares for and protects the quarterbacks he blocks for. That was true in his seven years in front of Tom Brady in New England, and the past two in New York with Eli Manning and Daniel Jones. That respect and friendship was reciprocated when Jones, drafted No. 6 overall last year, joined Solder on the live video chat Wednesday.

They were a part of “Team Up,” a two-hour show hosted by Sports Spectrum, in which current and former NFL players gathered virtually to discuss the upcoming virtual NFL Draft, beginning Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.  The show was presented by Compassion, and the guests also highlighted the incredible work being done around the world by the child development ministry.

“We all suffer now here in the United States because things are a little uncomfortable and people are losing jobs and people are dying, but it’s going to be so much worse (in poorer countries),” Solder said on “Team Up.” “So, if we can step in front of that and help fill in that gap and be a part of that, I think it’s worth doing.”

After the show, Solder announced that he and his family are donating $1 million to support Compassion.

Compassion estimates that nearly 70,000 children who live in abject poverty around the world — enough to fill an NFL stadium — will not get sponsored via the usual strategies at large spring and summer gatherings this year. So it’s aiming to “fill the stadium” with urgent support for the children in crisis, and many sports figures have stepped in to help #FilltheStadium. Each of the guests on Wednesday’s “Team Up” video are involved with Compassion and shared their experiences of the great work being done on behalf of children in Jesus’ name.

You can learn more at Compassion.com/teamup.

In addition to Solder and Jones, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer, Super Bowl MVP QB Nick Foles, and former NFL QBs Matt Hasselbeck and Carson Palmer joined the show. The hosts were Sports Spectrum’s Jason Romano and Fox Sports’ Brock Huard, a former NFL quarterback himself.

Each player was highlighted for roughly 10 minutes, during which they also reminisced about their own unique draft-day experiences and gave advice to the players whose names will be called during the 2020 NFL Draft. Some, like Palmer (No. 1 overall) and Jones (No. 6), were drafted high in the first round. Others, like Hasselbeck (sixth round, No. 187 overall), had to wait awhile.

Still, each player felt a sense of relief and excitement when they heard their names called.

“I’ll never forget how special it was on that draft night,” said Foles, a third-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.

Dilfer, who has been training Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in preparation for the draft, explained what the draft symbolizes for so many.

“On draft night, you get to reach your [dreams],” he said. “You get to experience, ‘Oh my gosh, it happened!’ All that work was worth it.”

Yet despite the excitement of draft night for so many players and fans, Dilfer pointed back to the work that, in God’s eyes, matters even more.

“This was an opportunity to leverage the draft hype, the conversations around the draft, to really pour into something eternal,” he said, “and that’s pouring into people’s lives that don’t have very much and maximizing the blessings and resources that we’ve all been given to encourage other people to give.”

Romano summed up Compassion’s mission.

“[Compassion is] the real deal, and you can be confident in knowing that you’re actually going to be sponsoring children and saving them,” he said. “Food, education, medical care, vocational training. They do it all in Jesus’ name, which is the most important thing.”

The show can still be viewed in its entirety on Sports Spectrum’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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