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Patriots sign Nate Ebner, announce Welker signing

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  May 21, 2012 06:31 PM

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The Patriots and sixth-round pick Nate Ebner have reached a contract agreement, the team has announced.

Ebner, a defensive back out of Ohio State, is a former rugby player who walked on for the Buckeyes and didn't really have designs on a possible shot at the NFL until a standout pro day.

He gained a measure of notoriety after the Patriots made him the 197th pick in this year's draft, since he played less than a handful of snaps on defense his final season at Ohio State (he was very good on special teams). But film of him on the rugby pitch sporting a full beard on YouTube helped endear him to fans.

New England also announced that Wes Welker has signed his franchise tender, which was first reported last Tuesday and confirmed by Welker himself. There was no statement from the organization on the release about Welker's return.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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