Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Former Ohio State player Nate Ebner leaves Patriots for Giants

Bill Rabinowitz

A longtime New England Patriot left for another team this week.
Well, another longtime Patriot.
Tom Brady’s departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rightly captured all the attention, especially in a sports world that has stopped except for NFL free agency.
But Nate Ebner also will have a new home after a Patriots career that was impressive in its own right. The former Ohio State special-teams player has agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Giants after eight years with New England.
“The Giants was the right fit for me,” Ebner said.
New York’s new coach, Joe Judge, coached special teams for the Patriots starting in 2012, when New England drafted Ebner.
“Obviously, I have a strong relationship with him,” Ebner said. “He’s someone I spent years with every single day arguing with and laughing with. He has a huge background in special teams, and we kind of came into it together.”
That Ebner, 31, made it to the NFL at all, let alone has lasted this long, is a story worthy of a book. In fact, he has written one that he expects to be published next year.
Ebner was an elite rugby player growing up in Hilliard. He didn’t play football at Hilliard Davidson, but he and his father, Jeff, talked about him trying out at Ohio State. After his father was killed during an attempted robbery at his family business in 2008, Ebner decided to give it a go.
He made his mark on special teams and became a Buckeyes captain. The Patriots then made him a surprise sixth-round draft pick, and he became a special-teams fixture during New England’s dynasty.
In 2016, he went back to his first love when he made the U.S. Olympic rugby team and competed in Rio de Janeiro.
Ebner won three Super Bowls with the Patriots. When asked about his time with New England, Ebner spoke uninterrupted for more than three minutes. He praised his teammates, Patriots fans and the culture that demanded and rewarded ceaseless work and dedication.
“If you want to be a (pro) football player, it’s a full-time job,” he said. “And in New England, they really know how to work. If you’re not built for it, you don’t last very long.”
Ebner lasted eight years, a tenure matched or exceeded only by Brady, kicker Stephen Gostkowski, cornerback Devin McCourty and receivers Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater.
“I’ve taken so much from New England,” he said. “It’s been fantastic, and I couldn’t have been more blessed.”
Now it’s on to a new chapter. Ebner, who got married last year, has been in San Diego, staying in shape by training with U.S. rugby players. No, he doesn’t intend to try out again for the Olympic team, even if the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t affect this year’s games in Japan.
NFL free agency continues despite the pandemic, but on-site work with the Giants is on hold.
“We’re kind of in unchartered territory, right?” he said. “I’m going to do what I have to do to get in touch with the people I need to. You just have to modify and adapt to the situation and make the most of what you can with what you have.”
That’s what Ebner has done his entire career. Now his goal is to make it to at least 10 years in the NFL.
“I’m just blessed to be able to play a ninth year,” Ebner said. “It’s not something I envisioned, and the fact I’m able to go out and do my thing, it’s a blessing. But I feel good and plan on playing as long as I can until the wheels fall off, and I don’t feel it’s anytime soon.”

Popular Posts