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Injury forces ex-Patriot Nate Ebner to withdraw from competing for spot on U.S. Olympic rugby team

Related: Two Patriots hold minority ownership stakes in New England’s new pro rugby team

Rugby - Olympics: Day 5 Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Former New England Patriot and New York Giant Nate Ebner is not just one of the premier special teamers in the NFL, but also among the best rugby players in the country. As such, he was trying to participate in his second Olympic Games this summer.

On Tuesday, however, he announced that an injury has now forced him to end his bid for a spot on the United States rugby team. The 32-year-old released a statement saying the timetable after a recent surgery “did not align with trials for the Games” and that he has to withdraw from competition:

A sixth-round draft pick by the Patriots in 2012, Ebner has always had close ties to the game of rugby. His late father introduced him to the game, and he went on to play the sport through high school and early on in college before walking on to join Ohio State’s football team.

Ebner’s love for it remained strong even after moving to the NFL, and in 2016 — just a few days after signing a contract extension in New England — he successfully tried out for the rugby sevens team that would represent the U.S. at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He eventually appeared in three games and scored 20 point, but was unable to compete for a medal: the team missed the cut and ultimately finished in ninth place.

Just six months after his appearance at the Olympic Games, Ebner earned his second of three Super Bowl rings as a member of the Patriots. In total, he appeared in 127 games for the organization before leaving to join the Giants in the spring of 2020.

With Ebner unable to participate in the Tokyo Olympics slated to open on July 23, the expectation is that the current free agent will re-sign with the Giants.