While Nate Ebner could miss some training camp time as a member of the US Olympic Rugby team, Bill Belichick isn't worried about his safety and core special teamer being in shape for the regular season.
“Even though he will be away from our team during an important period of our off-season, he will still be getting excellent physical training and I expect him to be ready for the football season like he always is,” Belichick told the Los Angeles Times in a statement.
Ebner has taken a leave from the Patriots -- with Belichick's approval -- in order to pursue his dream of representing the United States in the Summer Olympics. The 27-year-old announced his decision in March and has missed Patriots spring workouts as he trains with USA Rugby.
Ebner has not yet officially earned one of the 12 roster spots available, but Monday's LA Times piece tracks his journey thus far, less than a month before the Olympic team is expected to be announced.
“I just keep my head down and keep going,” Ebner said. “Just want to earn respect through my work ethic.”
Ebner signed a two-year deal with the Patriots this offseason in order to remain with the club that drafted him in the sixth round in 2012. He finished 2015 with 11 special teams tackles.
Patriots veterans will report to training camp on July 27. The Olympic Rugby competition will begin on Aug. 6, and the gold-medal game will take place on Aug. 11.