It might not have gone quite the way Nate Ebner hoped, but the Patriots special teams standout returns to New England as only a handful of athletes in the world who participated in this year’s games in Rio.
Ebner was part of a United States rugby sevens team that finished with a ninth-place finish in this year’s Olympics, marking the first time rugby sevens was part of the games as an Olympic sport.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had said he hoped Ebner would come back wearing “something around his neck”, but for this year, it just wasn’t meant to be. Ebner’s squad beat Spain and Brazil, but lost to Argentina and top-seeded Fiji, which left them with a ninth place finish.
It’s not the finish that he hoped for, but Ebner says he and his teammates gave it their best.
“I wish we could have done better,” said via USA TODAY. “We lost two close games to two of the best teams in the world. Fiji won the gold, and Argentina took Great Britain into overtime, and those are the two teams in the finals. We lost nailbiters, but it is what it is. And ultimately you wish you could play better, compete for a medal. But we did the best we could at the end.”
It’s hard to say when he’ll get back in action on the football field as he starts transitioning back to his job in New England, and Ebner admits there will be a bit of an adjustment physically as he gets reacclimated to playing football. But now that he’s back, he’s not worried. He’s simply looking forward to getting started.
“When my neck muscles get acclimated to wearing a helmet the whole time I think I’ll be good to go,” said Ebner. “Probably gain a little bit of weight. But I’m just going to take it one day at a time. I’m not worried about things physically being a big problem.”
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Tags: 2016 Olympics 2016 Patriots PreSeason Nate Ebner New England Patriots