Tuesday, May 01, 2012
By Karen Guregian
April 29, 2012
FOXBORO — If you are trying to make some sense of sixth-round pick Nate Ebner of Ohio State, who was a walk-on for the Buckeyes, and whose claim to fame is rugby and special teams, look no further than former Patriots great Mike Vrabel.
The latter is an assistant coach with Ohio State, and was instrumental in helping Ebner make the transition from rugby to football. It’s not outlandish to think Vrabel may have been a go-between with the Pats. At the very least, he helped Ebner have a great pro day.
“Man, I can’t say enough about coach Mike Vrabel,’’ Ebner said via conference call yesterday. “Obviously, what he did as a player and as a coach, I learned so much from him. That’s not even to say what type of person he is. What an amazing guy. I can’t thank him enough for the help he’s given me, the attention he’s given me. We have such a good relationship. I’m lucky, the one year I got with him.’’
Ebner said Vrabel really stressed the importance of special teams play, and how it could be a ticket to the pros.
“He understood it was just as an important part of the game as anything else. He understood how important I took my role as a special teams player. . . . He made it clear to me, the things you do every day at Ohio State, you can play in the NFL for years doing that. He knew the importance of special teams. We tried to spread that throughout the team.’’