Patriots

Patriots

When so many of your former assistants are head coaches, it's only natural that those coaches poach your former players.

That trend will continue, as former New England Patriots safety/special teams ace Nate Ebner is set to sign with the New York Giants in free agency, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday morning.

It's a natural fit for Ebner, as Giants head coach Joe Judge was his special teams coach for eight seasons in New England.

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Both Ebner and Judge came to the Patriots in 2012 -- Ebner as a sixth-round pick out of Ohio State -- and Judge was promoted from special teams assistant to special teams coordinator in Ebner's third season.

Ebner will be missed as one of New England's core special teamers; he was a second-team All-Pro in 2016 and a sturdy special teams presence who helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls.

The 31-year-old also is a star rugby player who competed for Team USA's rugby sevens squad at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.