BOSTON (CBS) -- The story of Nate Ebner's football journey is a unique one, and it's now taking a new turn.
The special teamer/safety will be taking a leave of absence from the Patriots in order to try to make the U.S. Olympic rugby team.
Adam Schefter reported the news on Tuesday, and shortly thereafter, the Patriots sent out a tweet showing support to Ebner in his quest to become an Olympian.
The news broke just as the team officially announced his new contract. He's expected to return to the Patriots in August.
The Patriots originally drafted Ebner in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Ohio State, where he walked on to the football team after excelling as a rugby player.
In his four NFL seasons, he's recorded 47 total tackles.
The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will feature the debut of Rugby Sevens in Olympic competition. Rugby union had been an Olympic competition from 1900-24.
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