Nate Ebner

During the NFL season, Nate Ebner patrols the New England Patriots secondary. Prior to the upcoming NFL slate, Ebner will be patrolling a different sports field and it’ll be down in Rio.

Ebner was named Monday morning to the United States Olympic Rugby team for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

We wrote back in March that Ebner was trying out for the Rugby team.

At the time, Ebner released a statement thanking the Patriots for re-signing him and letting him try out for the US Rugby team.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the Patriots from top to bottom for giving me the opportunity to come back and play for a truly first-class organization,” Ebner said.

The Patriots re-signed Ebner, who was unrestricted free agent, on Tuesday. Terms were not disclosed.

“I also want to thank them and USA Rugby for giving me the opportunity to chase a dream I’ve had since I was a boy in a sport in which I’ve always had a passion,” Ebner said. “I can’t put into words how much this opportunity means to not only me, but my friends and family as well.

“I plan to represent the Patriots and our country to the best of my ability. Thanks again and Go Pats and go USA.”

At the time, the Patriots voiced their support of Ebner trying out. Now that he’s made it, New England is supporting him once again.

The safety is the the second NFL player to qualify for the upcoming games. Former Detroit Lions’ running back Jahvid Best qualified for the 100 meter race for St. Lucia over the weekend.

The most recent NFL athlete to play in the Olympics was Herschel Walker. The 1982 Heisman winner played in the NFL from 1983 to 1997 and was a member of the United States bobsled team during the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

Ebner grew up playing rugby, not football, in high school. He became the youngest player ever to qualify for the U.S. National rugby sevens team when he was only 17. Ebner played rugby in college Ohio State before he walked on to the Buckeyes football team and was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

The Pats’ safety has been focusing the majority of his offseason on rugby, but New England head coach Bill Belichick has stated before he trusts Ebner to be ready to play at the start of the 2017 season.

“(Ebner) will still be getting excellent physical training and I expect him to be ready for the football season like he always is,” Belichick told the Los Angeles Times. 

Here’s the official release announcing Ebner made the team from the USA Rugby website.

[Pro Football Talk]

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.