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Nate Ebner is putting his NFL career on hold while he chases his rugby dream.

The New England Patriots special teams standout and Super Bowl XLIX Champion announced today that he was temporarily joining the Eagles men’s sevens program in Chula Vista, CA with the hopes of representing the U.S.

Ebner will remain under contract with the Patriots and return to the organization depending on whether he makes the Eagles 7’s roster.

“First and foremost, I want to say thank you to the Patriots from top to bottom for allowing me to come back and play for a truly first class organization,” said Ebner. “I also want to thank them and USA Rugby for giving me the opportunity to chase a dream I have had since I was a boy, in a sport in which I have always had a passion.”

Ebner is not new to the sport of rugby.  He was part of the USA Rugby U19 and U20 National Teams, taking team MVP in the 2007 U19 Junior World Championship in 2007 and the U20 Junior World Championship in 2008.

It was the 27-year-olds ball skills and athleticism that helped him walk-on at Ohio State in his junior year.

“We are excited and looking forward to Nate joining the program and working with the squad,” said USA Rugby Men’s Sevens Head Coach Mike Friday. “We are aware of Nate’s rugby background from his high school and college days and this was the key to him being in a position to compete with the current squad. He is in great shape and we will be able to condition him over the next 6 to 8 weeks to be more aligned with rugby and work with him to get him up to speed on his skills and tactical understanding.”

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