The New England Patriots will be without their special teams star Nate Ebner for the first week of the preseason since Ebner has made the Olympic Rugby team!
Earlier this week, the head coach of the US Rugby national team was quoted saying Ebner had a 50/50 chance of making the team. The Patriots have a history of being better than expected at coin flips, so it should be no surprise that Ebner has made the squad.
Ebner will be in Brazil for the Olympics for the start of Patriots training camp. The Olympic Rugby matches will take place from August 6th through August 11th, while veterans are supposed to report to Patriots camp on July 27th. This means that Ebner will likely the joint practices and first preseason game with the Saints.
The Patriots can place Ebner on a reserve list so he will not count against the 53-man roster limit once he returns to camp for his physical. Ebner will likely need some time to adjust back to NFL shape for the 2016 season.
The Patriots have prepared for the potential loss of Ebner and used a 6th round pick on special teams hopeful Kamu Grugier-Hill.
Best of luck to Ebner in the Olympics! Bring home the gold!