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Nate Solder, Matthew Slater hit the links in support of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation

06.30.14 at 1:25 pm ET
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Nate Solder and Matthew Slater joined Joe Andruzzi and his wife Jen to play in the sixth annual golf tournament benefiting the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. (WEEI.com)

Nate Solder and Matthew Slater joined Joe Andruzzi and his wife Jen to play in the sixth annual golf tournament benefiting the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. (WEEI.com)

PLYMOUTH, Mass. –  Being an NFL football player takes a tremendous toll on one’€™s body. The long, scorching hot days of training camp leading to the daily grind of a regular season is incredibly tough to handle, both physically and mentally.

The time between the end of mini camp and the start of training camp gives players one last month to catch their breath and rejuvenate their bodies one last time before the start of the new season, which for the Patriots begins with the first day of training camp on July 24.

Left tackle Nate Solder and special teams specialist Matthew Slater spent one of their last free Monday’s relaxing, joining a number of former professional athletes and local celebrities for a round of golf at the Pinehills Golf Club supporting the Joe Andruzzi Foundation.

“Just continuing to train and get my body in shape,” Slater said of what the next month will be like for him. “You try and do the best you can for your body to prepare for an NFL season and that is a strenuous process, but one you enjoy at the same time. Just doing the best we can as individuals and as a team to get ourselves ready for what lies ahead.

“It’€™s definitely an exciting time of the year. You work all year to get to this point being the start of a new season. We put a lot of work in and there is still a lot of work to be put in. We’€™re just excited about the 2014 season and what is in store for us.”

Monday’€™s event will raise funds and awareness in support of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, which helps cancer patients and their families make critical mortgage, rent and utility payments during financially-challenging times and to help fund pediatric brain cancer research. Last year’€™s tournament raised a record $278,000.

“It’€™s great support and seeing what we’€™re about –€“ that we are in the community, we’€™re apart of the community,” Andruzzi said of the support he gets from current Patriots players. “They are here playing for the Patriots, but they are also living in the community so we’€™re helping the people around them, people in this area and all throughout New England. For them to pay it forward and join forces with us is a great tribute to us.”

As for their golf games, there is a reason why they play football and not golf for a living.

“Not very good,” said Slater. “It’€™s a lot of fun just to get out here on a nice day like this and swing the clubs, but I’€™m definitely not a very good golfer. I’€™m just going to try and do my best to have fun today.”

Solder chimed in with much of the same.

“I’€™ll get out there and whack it around a little bit, but I have no skill at this game at all. It’€™s about being here and supporting the Joe Andruzzi Foundation,” he said.

Even the host himself doesn’€™t declare himself as a good golfer, but he does have a unique way of determining how well he plays on a given day.

“I rate my game on how many balls I lose,” said Andruzzi. “So if I’€™m two over, I found two. If I’€™m two under, I lost two, but I usually lose more than that.”

Solder, Slater and the rest of the Patriots don’€™t have many of these calm days left as before long they will be in their weekly season routines, getting ready for their next opponent and taking care of their battered bodies at the same time. But, even with that in the back of their minds, there is a lot to be eager about as the new season represents a new beginning and a chance to get rid of the bad taste left in their mouths after falling in the AFC Championship game last year.

“Absolutely, I’€™m tremendously excited,” said Solder. “There is a lot to look forward to. We’€™ve been working hard and we’€™re going to take it one step at a time.”

Read More: Joe Andruzzi, Joe Andruzzi Foundation, Matthew Slater, Nate Solder
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