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Nate Ebner thanks his team for letting him enjoy a ‘very cool’ Olympic experience, ‘no idea’ about 2020 08.21.16 at 1:43 pm ET
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FOXBORO — After the sporting experience of a lifetime, Nate Ebner is now about the business of getting ready for the daily grind of the NFL.

The player who helped provide national exposure to US Rugby during Rio spoke Sunday back in familiar ground – in front of his locker stall inside Gillette Stadium – getting ready for another Patriots season.

Ebner, who was actually suited up in full gamepads on Thursday but did not play against the Bears, spoke about what the support from teammates meant to him.

From the spring to now, Ebner has been on a whirlwind of rugby events and training for Rio. Once he was on the team, he had full concentration there. It paid off with a 5-point try in a 26-0 win over host Brazil and another try against Fiji in a 24-19 loss. Team USA Rugby finished ninth in Rio.

“You train [for rugby], you go on tour around the world for a little bit and then the Olympics comes around, you make the squad and you go. And now I’m here. Yeah, it kind of goes by quick.”

Might he try again for Tokyo in 2020?

“I have no idea. I’m worried about getting back on track here with the football team. Take that one day at a time. That’s so far away that I can’t even see it yet,” Ebner said.

On Sunday, Ebner was quick to thank his Patriots teammates and coaches for all the support, which included the coaches wearing his No. 12 rugby number on t-shirts during a joint practice with the Saints.

“I didn’t know anything like that would go down,” Ebner said. “Just from the amount of support that my teammates show me, texted me and calling me and seeing how things are going, even the coaches, like I said, the support they showed me through the whole thing, not just the Olympics but all the other tours and asking me how my journey was going in the Olympic camp, I can’t say enough about these guys here. It meant the world to me to have that support, especially in a very difficult training environment out there in California.”

“As you can see, my teammates here. Just the support that I was shown through the whole experience was amazing. Couldn’t say enough about that stuff. It was what was expected. I fully committed to the rugby team. Once that job was completed, I came [back to Foxboro]. Whatever is on my plate, is on my plate. Can’t really do anything about it. Just take it one step at a time, one day at a time. Just get back on track with things, really.”

Bill Belichick noted that Ebner will have to get reacquainted with playing with 22 players on a field and the speed of the NFL game. How different will it be for Ebner to train for NFL games again?

“I don’t know. I’ll have to answer that once I get back into things more and maybe I’ll have a better answer. I can’t answer that yet,” Ebner said. “I don’t know. It’s a different game. There are different moments. That situation was what it was. It’s really just going to come down to once I get back into the things, see how things feel. Maybe I can answer that better in the upcoming weeks.”

Ebner did not get into the type of trouble or face the same issues as Ryan Lochte and the three other swimmers in Rio, mostly because there was no time for distractions.

“Not a whole lot. We first got there, probably trained every day, multiple times a day,” Ebner said. “Got to see a lot of the Olympic Village and things of that nature but we just came to do a job and trained most of the time. A lot of those guys that stayed afterwards got to experience some stuff but I came back as soon as [rugby playing] was over.

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Read More: Nate Ebner, New England Patriots, Rio Olympics, USA Rugby
Wednesday Patriots practice report: Nate Ebner returns in walkthrough with Bears 08.17.16 at 12:41 pm ET
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Nate Ebner

Nate Ebner

FOXBORO — The Patriots and Bears held their third and final joint practice Wednesday morning on the backfields of Gillette Stadium. It was a walkthrough held in shorts and shells in advance of their preseason game Thursday night.

Players absent from the session included: running back Dion Lewis (ACL recovery), linebacker Shea McClelin (unknown), offensive lineman Tre’ Jackson (PUP), offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper (foot), offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer (PUP), tight end Rob Gronkowski (injured Monday) and defensive end Jabaal Sheard (unknown).

As usual, after stretching the following players went to the lower fields to work on conditioning: Rob Ninkovich, Malcolm Mitchell, D.J. Foster, Donald Brown, Bryce Williams, Danny Amendola and Keshawn Martin. It wouldn’t appear any of these players will play in the game Thursday night.

Logan Ryan remained in a red, non-contact jersey and Brandon Bolden returned after missing Tuesday.

The highlight of the session was Nate Ebner fully participating after returning from Rio over the weekend.

This was the final open practice of the summer and like last Wednesday’s with the Saints, was the most laid back, not intense session of the summer. There were no fights, unlike the last two days.

Here are some observations from the just under two-hour session:

— After stretching the teams did some 7-on-7 goal line work, but the teams weren’t going at full speed. Tom Brady worked with the first-team, while Jimmy Garoppolo was with the second team. On the other field, Elandon Roberts had an interception, but once again things were going at half speed.

— Following this came a lot of special teams work. During this Brady got some 1-on-1 work with Nate Washington.

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Kyler Kerbyson released to make room for Nate Ebner 08.14.16 at 2:40 pm ET
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Nate Ebner

Nate Ebner

FOXBORO — The Patriots are making preparations to welcome Nate Ebner back into the mix.

The team announced Sunday that they have released OL Kyler Kerbyson.

When asked if the move was to make room for the rugby star returning from Rio, Bill Belichick nodded affirmatively.

Ebner has missed the first three weeks of camp to be with Team USA Rugby. Ebner scored a five-point try in a 26-0 win last week, the only win of the games for the US, which finished in ninth place.

“He’s got a long way to go,” Belichick said, adding, “no one will work harder.”

Belichick noted that Ebner can’t just get back in football shape by “running around a track” and that he must get used to playing with 22 people on the field at one time.

Kerbyson, 23, was signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent on July 24, 2016. The 6-foot-4, 317-pounder was a two-year starter at the University of Tennessee, starting at left tackle in all 13 games in 2015 and making starts at right tackle, left tackle and left guard as a Junior in 2014. He was part of an offensive line that helped the Vols average 422.3 yards per game, including 223.7 yards rushing per game in 2015, which ranked second in the SEC.

Following his senior season, Kerbyson was Second-Team All-SEC by the Associated Press, and the 2015-16 ESPN All-SEC Bowl Team. He also received two SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week awards during the 2015 campaign.

Read More: 2016 training camp, Bill Belichick, Kyler Kerbyson, Nate Ebner
Nate Ebner reflects on U.S. Olympic rugby journey: ‘It’s definitely going to be one to remember the rest of my life’ 08.11.16 at 1:12 pm ET
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Nate Ebner

Nate Ebner

Nate Ebner and the U.S. Olympic rugby team won’t be coming back from Rio with any medals, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t an experience of a lifetime, especially for Ebner who took a leave from the Patriots so he could pursue his dream of playing rugby at the Olympics.

“It’s definitely going to be one to remember the rest of my life,” Ebner said to NBC Sports. “The whole journey, the whole process, from making the decision to being here now, to the friends and family that have supported me in everything that I’ve done. Even the fans and the Patriots organization. I just can’t say enough good things about the close people in my life and how much they supported me. It’s just meant the world to me and helped me through all of this.”

The U.S. placed ninth overall in the tournament after falling to top-seeded Fiji, 24-19 on Wednesday.

The Patriots have been given a roster exemption to be able to carry Ebner while not having him count against the 90-man player limit. There is no set date on when Ebner will return to the team.

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Tom Brady ‘pumped’ to watch Nate Ebner, USA rugby team in win over Brazil 08.09.16 at 7:57 pm ET
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The entire Patriots team gathered together to watch the U.S. rugby team in their matchup with Brazil on Tuesday night. In the game Ebner scored a try to help the U.S. in their win, which came following a loss to Argentina earlier in the day.

Tom Brady took to Facebook to show his support for Ebner: Great start!!! Pumped watching my Patriots teammate Nate Ebner and Team USA Rugby in their matchup against Brazil! #OneTeam #USA #LetsGooooo

Read More: 2016 training camp, Nate Ebner, Tom Brady,
Bill Belichick, Patriots coaches support Nate Ebner with U.S. rugby t-shirts, team will watch game together at 3:20 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick walked out on to the practice field Tuesday in a No. 12 t-shirt and no, it wasn’t a Tom Brady t-shirt, it was a Nate Ebner U.S. rugby t-shirt.

Belichick and several other members of the coaching staff wore the t-shirts with Ebner’s name on the back of them in honor of their special teams player as the U.S. rugby team had their first game on Tuesday morning.

“Nate is a very popular guy on the team,” safety Devin McCourty said. “Everybody loves Nate, his work ethic and what he brings to the team. A lot of us can’t wait to get in there and watch him do something that he’s very passionate about. I think in the secondary, we know he talked to us about trying out for the Olympics before it even came up, so to now see it come full circle and get a chance to watch him in the Olympics is going to be a cool experience.”

“I was proud of him when he called and told me he was going to the Olympics,” Brandon Bolden added. “Nate’s a great guy and I’m so happy for him. I know he’s probably asleep or getting getting geeked up for [these] games. He knows he has the entire team’s support. He knows he has the entire special teams watching him later on. I’m extremely proud of him. He’s like a brother to me.”

The U.S. Rugby team lost to Argentina 17-14 in their first game, which took place while the Patriots held the first of two joint practices with the Saints Tuesday morning, but when the game airs Tuesday at 5 p.m., Belichick and the entire team will be watching together.

“I‘m mad we missed the first game, but we’ll go in there and a lot of us will watch that game at 5:00 and get to cheer our guy on,” McCourty said.

Read More: 2016 training camp, Nate Ebner,
Robert Kraft: Nate Ebner is ‘prototype Patriot’ 08.08.16 at 3:22 pm ET
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Patriots special teamer Nate Ebner is in Rio participating in the Summer Olympics for the U.S. Rugby team after the Patriots allowed him to go pursue his dream and miss most of training camp.

Owner Robert Kraft is hoping he can bring home a medal.

“We’re all revved up as an organization just hoping that we can get to see him on a medal stand,” Kraft said in a Bleacher Report feature on the Patriots special teamer.

Kraft is extremely proud of Ebner, calling him a “prototype Patriot.”

“When you think about a young man who was a walk-on at Ohio State, and then after one year, being the (Buckeyes’) most outstanding special teams player — prototype Patriot,” he said.

The 10-minute feature details Ebner’s life and rugby career, which follows his father’s footsteps as he was a rugby player himself. Ebner’s father was murdered in 2008 at his auto sales shop. Ebner is dedicating his rugby career to him, as he is the one who got him into the sport.

The video is a much-watch for Patriots fans.

Read More: 2016 training camp, Nate Ebner,
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