A former Ohio State Buckeyes football player with Springfield ties will head to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next month as a member of the United States Olympic team.
Nate Ebner, who took a leave of absence from the New England Patriots, to train with the U.S. Rugby Men’s Sevens team, was one of 12 players named to the national team on Monday. Ebner’s dad Jeff was the owner of Ebner and Sons in Springfield and was killed in 2008 defending the family-owned auto reclamation business from a robbery.
Ebner grew up in Columbus and graduated from Hilliard Davidson High School. He played for the U.S. U-19 and U-20 national rugby teams and played three seasons of football for the Buckeyes.
The Patriots drafted Ebner in the sixth round in 2012, and he’s entering his fifth season with the team as a safety.
Rugby Sevens will be played at the Olympics for the first time. Rugby was last played at the Olympics in 1924, and it was the standard 15-man per team game.
The team is training in Chula Vista, Calif., and will travel to Brazil on Aug. 1. The United States opens play against Argentina on Aug. 9 at Deodoro Stadium.