Nate Ebner: From NFL to Rio

USA Rugby head coach talks about odds of Patriots Nate Ebner making the Olympic team
USA Rugby head coach talks about odds of Patriots Nate Ebner making the Olympic team
©Press Association

USA Rugby Sevens coach Mike Friday confirmed on Tuesday that the chances of National Football League (NFL) star Nate Ebner making into the final 12-man squad to be part of the upcoming Olympics is evenly poised.

Ebner, who plays for the New England Patriots in the NFL took a break from the sport in order to pursue his dreams of representing USA in the Olympics and was part of the national sevens side in the Singapore and Paris legs of the World Sevens Series.

However, the 27-year-old was left out of the final leg of the tournament in London Sevens with Ben Leatigaga taking his place in the squad. Ebner was sent to play with the second choice USA Sevens squad in the Howard Hilton Sevens in France.

Head coach Friday is set to announce the final 12-man squad on 19th July from the preliminary squad of 26 members. When asked about the chances of Ebner making the final cut, Friday was tight-lipped giving a "50-50 odd".

“Ebner’s chances [to make the team] were slim,” but when asked a follow-up he changed “the odds to 50-50.”

“Nate has made a reasonable transformation,” Friday said via the LA Times. “He has integrated well and is re-familiarizing himself with the game.”

Ebner became the youngest player to have played for the USA Sevens team at the age of 17 and has also represented the USA Under-19 and Under-20 national teams before he was chosen by the Patriots in the NFL draft in 2012.

The upcoming Rio Olympics will feature rugby for the first time in 92 years as a part of the mega event with the Men's competition scheduled to be played between 9th and 11th August.