NFL

Nate Ebner announces withdrawal from contention for Olympic spot on U.S. rugby sevens team

"While my recovery is on track for the next football season, unfortunately the time tables did not align with trials for the Games."

Nate Ebner Olympics
United States's Nate Ebner, during the men's rugby sevens match against Brazil at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

Former Patriots special teams ace and defensive back Nate Ebner won’t be making a return trip to the Olympics, according to a Tuesday announcement he made on social media. The 32-year-old had been attempting to make the United States men’s national rugby sevens roster for the upcoming Tokyo Summer Games.

“It pains me to announce my withdrawal from competing for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics with the USA Men’s Sevens,” Ebner wrote in a note he posted on Twitter and Instagram.

“After the 2020 NFL season, I had an injury that required off-season surgery,” Ebner explained. “While my recovery is on track for the next football season, unfortunately the time tables did not align with trials for the Games.”

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Ebner was a part of the U.S. team in 2016 at the Rio Olympics. It was the first time rugby sevens was included at the Games.

“Thank you to USA Rugby for welcoming me back into the squad like family,” Ebner added. “And thank you to the players working so hard to make the Olympic team and help the United States bring home a medal.”

Ebner played for USA Rugby at multiple youth levels but switched to football and impressively walked-on to Ohio State’s team while in college. He recorded 30 tackles in his career with the Buckeyes before catching the attention of Bill Belichick, who selected him in the sixth round (197th overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft.

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While in New England, Ebner continued to feature on special teams, helping the Patriots win three Super Bowls from 2012-2019. His performance earned a Second Team All-Pro spot in 2016. He signed with the Giants as a free agent in 2020, reuniting with former New England special teams coordinator (and current New York head coach) Joe Judge.

Judge said in May that he “fully expects” Ebner — who is officially a free agent — to be back with the Giants for the 2021 season.

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