The last time American Football has been seen at the Olympic Games was 1932, but that hasn’t stopped NFL players participating in the games, and 2016 is no exception.
New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner will become the first ever active NFL player to participate in the Olympics after being selected to represent the USA at Rugby this summer. Ebner was granted a leave of absence in March after signing a new 2-year deal with New England to go and try out for rugby, which is making its first appearance in the Olympics since 1924.
Ebner was actually a rugby player long before he became and football player, taking up the sport at the age of 6 with his dad, it wasn’t until walking on at Ohio State in January 2009 that he actually played football for the first time. Ebner was a All-American rugby player at Ohio State before switching to american football and eventually being drafted by the Patriots in 2012 as being part of the Super Bowl winning side in 2014.
“Rugby is a part of my DNA”
Ebner’s father, who died when he was just 19, was a huge driving force behind his rugby playing and never got to see him in the NFL. There is certainly a sense of duty in representing his country at the sport that gave him a special connection with his father.
“I’ll do anything to give back to this sport that has given me so much.”
The Patriots have been very supportive of Ebner chasing a dream, and he will return to the Patriots training camp when the Olympics is over.
Oddly though, Ebner isn’t the only NFL player going to Rio in a few weeks time. Former Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best, whose career was cut short in 2011 by concussion issues, will be representing St. Lucia in the 100 metres through his father’s dual citizenship.