Nate Ebner is a rugby player who just so happens to also be pretty good at football, too.
The New England Patriots safety is taking time this summer to practice with the men’s rugby team, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
Patriots' S Nate Ebner taking leave of absence from team today to begin training for US rugby team and summer Olympics. Returns in Aug.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2016
The Patriots are more than happy to support Ebner’s passion for the sport of rugby.
We are proud to support @Natebner34 in his effort to earn a place on the United States National Rugby team.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) March 15, 2016
Ebner didn’t play football until his third year at Ohio State. Before that he played rugby on the US national rugby sevens team (youngest ever at the age of 17) and played on the Under 19 and Under 20 teams, winning MVP of the US team both years.
After turning 20, he turned his attention towards American football as a defensive back for the Buckeyes.
He played well enough in college to be drafted in the sixth round by the Patriots, and he just signed a new contract to play again in New England for two more seasons. He was third on the team last year with 11 special teams tackles and is considered a valuable member of the team’s coverage unit.