Nate Ebner’s 2017 campaign came to a quick end in November, when he tore his ACL on a fake punt play. Despite coming off the injury, the New England Patriots re-signed the special teams ace to a two-year contract in the offseason. And even though he then started training camp on the physically unable to perform list, Ebner was quickly removed from it again and ready to go for the 2018 season.
So far this year, he appeared in 15 of New England’s 16 regular season games — he missed week 12 due to a minor knee injury — and led the Patriots in both playing time and special teams tackles: Ebner was on the field for 72.6% of kicking game snaps played and registered a combined 13 takedowns. All in all, his comeback season can be seen as a successful one. And now, Ebner even added some hardware to it.
As was announced by the Patriots earlier today, the 30-year old is the club’s 2018 Ed Block Courage Award recipient. The trophy, named the Baltimore Colts’ long-time athletic trainer, is given out annually to players who “best exemplif[y] the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration.” Ebner, along with the other 31 winners from around the NFL will be honored at an awards banquet in Baltimore in late March.
Ebner is the latest member of the Patriots to receive the trophy and now joins a list including fellow special teams ace Matthew Slater (2017) as well as Nate Solder (2016), Jerod Mayo (2015), Rob Gronkowski (2014), Sebastian Vollmer (2013), Logan Mankins (2012), Marcus Cannon (2011), Wes Welker (2010) and Tom Brady (2009).