Patriots

Ex-rugby player Ebner: 'Maybe I got a screw loose'

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Ex-rugby player Ebner: 'Maybe I got a screw loose'

FOXBORO -- One thing was clear after speaking with Patriots draft pick Nate Ebner on Saturday evening's conference call: He was as shocked to be drafted as anyone.
"I just didn't want to expect anything and I didn't want to get overly excited," he said in a rush. "I hoped I would get a chance to be on a team -- especially the Patriots -- and words can't describe how excited I am to be a part of this organization. The fact I got drafted it just makes me so happy. And my family's happy and we're so excited about the opportunity. I'm really at a loss for words about the whole thing."
You see, Ebner isn't just an undrafted free agent-type talent who snuck into the seventh round. He's not, at his core, a football player.
Ohio State's website lists just two career notes for defensive back Ebner: Rugby convert to the secondary; joined the Buckeyes as a walk-on in 2009.
Huh?
"It was a long drawn out process," he said of the switch. "I was playing rugby, especially age grade stuff, and I was down at the World Cup in college and I couldn't do the professional rugby and college at the same time.
"I wanted to play football my senior year in high school and I didn't. So I decided I'd go out for Ohio State -- what better college program would you want to be a part of. Ohio State especially as a kid growing up in Columbus. I did it and it's worked out pretty well."
Ebner gave pee wee football a shot as a kid, but rugby is in his blood. Ebner said his father played and so he's been around the game since he was six years old. Unfortunately, that influence outlives his dad; Jeff Ebner was killed in 2008 when a robbery was attempted at his auto salvage business.
Nate appears not to mourn as much as honor.
"Obviously, it was devastating. Nobody wants to lose their father -- especially the way that happened. But, the type of person he was and our relationship, I can only draw strength from it. I never really was one to pity myself. I don't know how he would feel about me feeling bad for myself because he was gone.
"He would say every day, 'If I die tomorrow, I wouldn't be mad about it, the way I lived.' So I don't want to, as a son, be sad about it. If I just try to draw strength from it. I'm so lucky to have a person like that in my life, especially as a father figure. He was amazing."
Rugby is now happily shelved, with all due respect. Ebner, despite having zero expectations of being drafted, will now fight for a chance to play for the defending AFC Champion Patriots.
Play where? Maybe not the secondary. Though he played both nickel back and safety at Ohio State, Ebner was considered a special teams stalwart at Ohio State.
"I was a safety and practice with them a lot I got a couple plays in a game at nickel back but my role at Ohio State, they wanted me to play special teams and that's what I did. The coaches wanted that and I gave everything I had into that. I baked up Tyler Moeller at nickel back last year and obviously some safety stuff. Just did what the coaches needed of me."
If any aspects of his first sports love will help in this next venture, it's tough to say.
"It compares in the fact that we hit each other and there's a lot of running and some big dudes. I don't know that it compares a lot. I'd say the speed of the game and the tackling are similar, but they're very different sports. I guess when it's time to come down and hit somebody, as we're running down on kickoff, I'd say that's very similar to the time we come down in a rugby game and you've got to hit somebody."
Kickoff, you see, is his favorite part of the game.
"Because because, I don't know why," he laughed. The attempted explanation was muddled with intensity. "I just enjoy running down as fast as you can. It's just mayhem, it's exciting. It's such a rush. I don't know. It happens so fast it's just one big blur and then it's over. I just love it, it's amazing. Maybe I got a screw loose."
Sounds like, at least, Ebner will give New England's special teams units a much-needed jolt. It's hard to know what else to expect -- from a rugby player.

Belichick remembers Glenn: 'A good person with good intentions'

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Belichick remembers Glenn: 'A good person with good intentions'

Terry Glenn, the Patriots' top draft pick in 1996, died early Monday morning in a one-car accident in Irving, Texas. He was 43. 

Bill Belichick coached Glenn as an assistant with the Patriots during Glenn's rookie season. He was later Glenn's head coach in 2000 and 2001. Belichick traded Glenn to the Packers before the 2002 season after a tumultuous run in New England that involved legal trouble, injuries and clashes with the coaching staff.

During a conference call with reporters soon after the news of Glenn's death was published, Belichick remembered Glenn for his natural physical ability and "a good heart."

"I was pretty close with Terry," Belichick said, "and his rookie season was my first year here in '96, and so I had a lot of interaction with him and other people that were involved in his life and his upbringing separate from the Patriots. Terry's a very smart individual. Had a lot of, obviously, a lot of physical skill and talent. Could do a lot of things on the football field very naturally. And I think he was deep down inside a good person with good intentions and, you know, a good heart. Obviously it's very unfortunate. Very unfortunate passing. I mean, it's a sad day. Sad news."

According to reports, Glenn was with his fiancee at the time of the accident. She's being treated at a local hospital for unspecified injuries.

Bledsoe, other ex-Patriots react to Terry Glenn's death

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Bledsoe, other ex-Patriots react to Terry Glenn's death

Drew Bledsoe was among the ex-Patriots taking to Twitter to react to Terry Glenn's untimely death on Monday.

Glenn died Monday morning after being involved in a car crash in Texas. The former Patriots wide receiver was 43.

Bledsoe reacted to Glenn's death with a series of tweets speaking highly of who he referred to as favorite receiver:

 

Troy Brown, Lawyer Milloy, and Scott Zolak shared their sentiments as well.