It’s taken a lot of hard work for Nate Ebner, but with opening ceremonies set for this week, it won’t be long before the Patriots special teamer will get his opportunity to compete for gold in Rio.
The road to get to this point was tough, as Ebner had to reshape his body to get back into the type of shape that playing the game of rugby requires as he competed to make the team. He had to slim down and shed his football weight to try and get his speed and quickness back, which wasn’t easy. Initially he felt pretty good when things started off, but reality set in pretty quick from there.
“The first few practices were really tough,” Ebner said via Yahoo.com. “I felt really strong and explosive for the first 30 seconds and then I’ve never felt so weak and worthless within minutes of that. My legs felt like I was running in cement or mud.”
Since then, he’s settled right in, and after earning a spot on the team he’s now setting his sights on trying to help the USA establish itself as a contender against countries that will give them some pretty stiff competition. They’ll battle teams like South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand, kicking off the competition on Tuesday against Argentina.
Meanwhile, back in Foxboro, his team continues preparing for the 2016 NFL Season without him while he pursues his dream. His spot certainly looks secure, with Bill Belichick offering up his full support for Ebner as he hopes to see his player come home with a gold medal around his neck.
Special-teams captain Matthew Slater also made it clear he’s behind Ebner as well, wearing #43 on the first day of camp in a gesture that got back to Ebner, and certainly made him appreciative of the move.
“That was pretty awesome,” Ebner said. “It says so much about not only him but the organization and the type of people they bring in that truly care about each other. Matt is a first-class dude. He got my mom all emotional about that.”
Eventually, he’ll be back in the locker room with Slater once this run is over. But for now, he’s only focused on the task at hand and if all goes well, he’ll hopefully add an Olympic medal to his Super Bowl ring.
“Right now I’m all in with the U.S. rugby team, and that’s all I’m thinking about,” Ebner said. “That’s the type of person I am. I’m going to give this team everything I have.”
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2016 Olympics Bill Belichick Matthew Slater Nate Ebner