Giants Latest Free Agent Signing Was an Olympic Rugby Star

Giants Sign Nate Ebner, former Team USA Rugby Olympian & New England Patriot

Getty Nate Ebner of Team USA

The New York Giants made yet another under-the-radar signing on Thursday, adding former New England Patriot Nate Ebner. While Ebner may have a safety designation, he’s made his living in the NFL as a special teams maven.

Over the last three seasons, Ebner has played just one defensive snap, while playing 817 snaps on special teams. While Ebner may have been overshadowed for the majority of his Patriots career by playing alongside perennial pro bowl special teams ace Matthew Slater, his production has not gone unnoticed in the football world. Pro Football Focus has graded Ebner with a 70+ PFF Special Teams grade in six consecutive seasons.

While Ebner may be nowhere near a superstar in the NFL, he’s garnered a plethora of accomplishments in his professional career, including winning three Super Bowls and even being a member of the USA Olympic Rugby team.

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Nate Ebner Was a USA Olympian

Nate Ebner has been a member of the New England Patriots, serving as a special teams ace since 2012. However, that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his true passion, rugby.

In 2016, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gave Ebner his blessing to take a temporary leave from the team to compete for a spot on Team USA’s rugby sevens team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Mike Friday, team USA sevens’ head coach, went on record stating that when Ebner first approached him about trying out for the Olympic team, the coach set meager expectations on the player, proclaiming he had a 10 to 20 percent chance of making the team.

Yet, despite having not played rugby competitively in the six years prior, Ebner’s athletic prowess shined through. He not only made the team, Ebner scored two tries during his Olympic run. However, team USA fell two points short of advancing to medal play, eventually finishing ninth.

Ebner is Part Owner of a Major League Rugby Team

Ebner continues to be intertwined in the world of professional rugby. He most recently served as an in-studio analyst covering the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens for NBC Sports. 

2018 also happens to be the same year that Ebner, and now his former Patriots teammate Patrick Chung, each become minority owners in the New England Free Jacks, a Major League Rugby team.

Ebner Reunites With Coach Judge

The signing of Ebner is a logical addition for the Joe Judge run Giants. Judge and Ebner go back to 2015, as he had served as Ebner’s special teams coach in New England from 2015 through 2019.

Ebner even earned an All-Pro nod under Judge’s guidance, being named a second-team All-Pro in 2016.

Ebner joins Cody Core, who New York recently re-signed to give the Giants two lethal special teams playmakers. Core led the team with eight special teams tackles one season ago.

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