BOSTON (CBS) -- Months after taking a leave of absence from the Patriots to focus on training for the Olympics in hopes of making the U.S. Men's Rugby team, Nate Ebner has been selected as a member of the 12-man squad to represent the United States in Rio de Janeiro.
Head coach Mike Friday gave the Patriots special teamer/safety a '50-50' chance to make the team last week, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ebner was previously the youngest player to ever make Team U.S.A. when he made the national rugby sevens team as a 17-year-old. He competed internationally for his first two years at Ohio State before transitioning to football.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gave Ebner his blessing to follow his Olympic dream, telling the Los Angeles Times: "Even though [Ebner] will be away from our team during an important period of our off-season, he will still be getting excellent physical training and I expect him to be ready for the football season like he always is."
2016 marks the first time rugby sevens, a seven-on-seven variation of the usual 15-on-15 rugby union, will be an official event at the Olympics. Rugby is scheduled for August 5-11, about two weeks after the start of Patriots training camp on July 27. Check out the full roster at USARugby.org.
for more features.