After starting my two-column Pros and Cons series last week when I weighed the options of Nate Ebner sticking with the NFL, we’re now going to look at the idea of the dual-sport athlete returning to rugby.
Ebner’s contract with the New England Patriots is up at the end of the season and he’ll have a decision to make.
Here we go!
He’ll have an opportunity to represent his country.
There are athletes in every single professional sports league that have said winning an Olympic medal is much more special than winning a championship ring. There is no other feeling in sports.
Con: By moving back to the pitch, Ebner might be walking away from some money.
Making an impact.
Pro: It’s worth noting that when Ebner was focused on rugby as a teenager, he played on the United States National 7’s team as a 17-year-old, the youngest rugger ever.
Ebner was also named Team USA’s Most Valuable Player in both the Under 19 IRB Junior World Championship in 2007 and the Under 20 IRB Junior World Championship in 2008.
So with some time to get his rugger legs back under him it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Ebner could be an impact player on the international stage again.
Con: With that same token, by switching back to rugby, where he could make a bigger impact, he’d be passing up an opportunity to win another championship ring.
Conclusion: There’s no clear-cut path that Ebner should choose and it could be a difficult decision because it would be hard to imagine he could do both, but not impossible. However, it is worth noting that Patriots teammate Matthew Slater made the Pro Bowl as a special teamer and not Ebner. This will certainly be something worth watching in March.
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