Former Buckeye Nate Ebner to compete in the Olympics
Nate Ebner is going to Rio.
The former Buckeye and current New England Patriots defensive back will compete on the American rugby sevens team in the Olympics next month.
Adam Schefter confirmed that news early on Monday morning:
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 18, 2016
It will be the pinnacle of Ebner’s unconventional journey to what’s always been a lifetime goal.
The Hilliard, Ohio native was a rugby player before he shined on the gridiron. When he was 17, he became the youngest person to ever qualify for the US national team. He walked on at Ohio State and worked out with the Tiger rugby club with in Columbus during the offseason.
Ebner was the first active NFL player to qualify for Rio, and he was the second player with NFL experience to earn a trip. Former Detroit Lions tailback Jahvid Best will represent his father’s home country, St. Lucia, on the track and field team.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said that Ebner’s Patriot teammates have supported his non-football passion.
“It’s been nothing but positive encouragement from everyone,” Belichick said before Ebner qualified. “It just shows the type of guys that organization brings in. They do truly care about one another.”
Belichick said that he trusts Ebner will be good to go when training camp rolls around in August.
The former sixth-round pick is entering his fifth season in New England.