NFL star Nate Ebner’s inclusion in the USA’s squad for next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is not a publicity stunt aimed at boosting TV ratings.
That was the word from USA Sevens head coach Mike Friday who said Ebener, who plays in the safety position for the New England Patriots in the NFL, is in his squad on merit.
“Nate’s massively impressed me,” Friday told The Rugby Paper.
“He’s been with us for five or six months and he’s really integrated himself back into rugby. He’s started to think like a rugby player again.
“He’s been phenomenal conditioning-wise and in his physicality around the breakdown and defence.
“I didn’t want people to think his inclusion was a PR stunt. That’s not fair on the man, he’s earned his right on merit and, hopefully, you’ll see that in Brazil.”
27-year-old Ebner is no stranger to rugby as he represented the USA U20 national team earlier in his career.