New England Patriots safety Nate Ebner has made the U.S. rugby team for the Rio Olympics next month.
USA Rugby Men’s Sevens coach Mike Friday announced the 12 athletes to represent Team USA on Monday.
Ebner, who took a leave of absence from the Patriots in May, is scheduled to rejoin the team at training camp after the Aug. 6-11 Olympic rugby competition.
Ebner was an All-American rugby player at Ohio State before the Patriots selected him in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has said he supports Ebner’s pursuit of his Olympic dream and trusts him to be ready when the season starts.
The 27-year-old Ebner, an unrestricted free agent before being re-signed by the Patriots in May, had 13 tackles in 15 games last season. He also had 11 special teams tackles, which ranked third on the team. He has played in 57 games over his four NFL seasons.
Ebner is the second players with NFL experience to qualify for the Summer Olympics.
Former Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best was chosen to the Olympic team of his father’s home country, St. Lucia, to participate in track and field.