Patriots special teamer Ebner set to make rugby return in Hong Kong


Patriots special teamer Ebner set to make rugby return in Hong Kong

Nate Ebner hasn't played rugby competitively since 2012, when he shifted his focus to football full-time. Next week, he'll have the opportunity to compete in the sport that has been his lifelong passion.

The Patriots safety has taken a leave of absence from the team to pursue a roster spot with the USA Sevens side in the Olympics this summer. As part of his training, he'll play in a 10s tournament at the Hong Kong Football Club on April 6 and 7, per ESPN.

Ebner will play for the Samurai side in the contest, joining a few of England's sevens players.

"We have a great relationship with [England Sevens head coach] Simon Amor and England Sevens that has rolled over from my days as team manager and we're so pleased that he agreed to release a few of his contracted players for us for the GFI HKFC 10s," Samurai coach Terry Sands told ESPN. "To then get a call from [USA Sevens head coach] Mike Friday to confirm that Nate Ebner was available was the icing on the cake for us in our 20th anniversary year."

Ebner was an All-America rugby player at Ohio State before focusing on his career in football. Last season he went into depth on his background in the sport and how it helped shape his relationship with his late father Jeff.

If he earns a spot on the USA Sevens roster, Ebner will re-join the Patriots in August after the Olympic rugby competition, which is scheduled for Aug. 6-11.

Ebner, one of coach Bill Belichick's top special-teamers, re-signed with the Patriots this offseason after the expiration of his rookie deal. His new contract will keep him in New England through 2017.

Report: Patriots special teams ace Slater visiting Steelers

Report: Patriots special teams ace Slater visiting Steelers

Patriots seven-time Pro Bowl special teamer Matthew Slater is in Pittsburgh on Saturday making a free-agent visit to the rival Steelers, according to an ESPN's Field Yates.

Slater, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. The special teams captain and one of the leaders in the locker room signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots lost special teamer Johnson Bademosi to the Texans in free agency on Friday but signed special teamers Brandon Bolden and Brandon King just before the free agency period began.

More to come...

Brady tests his 'Brady Bunch' knowledge on NPR

Brady tests his 'Brady Bunch' knowledge on NPR

Tom Brady has been making the media rounds lately with "Good Morning America" and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" appearances this past week to promote his "Tom vs. Time" series and TB12 Method book. On Saturday, Brady was a phone-in guest on NPR's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" for their "Not My Job" segment. 

Before a mostly cheering live audience in Hartford and after a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks - mostly drawbacks - of tomatoes and strawberries, plus an assessment of the intelligence of most defensive coordinators, Brady settled in to handle three questions about the world's second-most famous Bradys, the family from the classic sitcom - "The Brady Bunch".

Click here to listen and see how he did.