Patriots safety Nate Ebner’s dream has come true. He’s qualified for the Rio Olympics and will represent USA Rugby in the upcoming games.
Ebner is the only active NFL player expected to participate in the Olympics. Former Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best, who has been approved to represent St. Lucia in track and field, also plans to compete.
With the blessing of coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization, Ebner began his quest to make the team in May. He’ll rejoin the Pats after the Aug. 6-11 Olympic rugby competition.
“Nate is honored to represent his country and carry on his dad’s legacy,” agent Sean Stellato, who represents Ebner, said in a text to the Herald. “This is a testament to Nate’s work ethic, skill set and core values. He epitomizes what the USA stands for. We are forever grateful for the Patriots giving him the opportunity to pursue his dream.”
Ebner was an All-America rugby player at Ohio State before the Patriots selected him in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.
In May, he told the Herald what the opportunity meant as it pertained to his late father Jeff, who died when he was the victim of a robbery a little more than seven years ago.
“[Rugby] was a big part of my relationship with my dad,” Ebner said. “And growing up with it at a young age, it never really leaves the back of your head. I was just lucky enough to have worked it out and be able to chase the Olympic dream in the sport I grew up playing.”