Nate Ebner withdrew Tuesday from competing for a spot on the USA Rugby team, a move that prevents him from going to the Tokyo Olympics and should hasten the safety’s opportunity to return to the Giants.
Technically, Ebner is a free agent, as the Giants did not re-sign the special teams ace while he attempted to qualify for a second time to play for the national rugby sevens team. Ebner made that team in 2016 and competed in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Even though Ebner was not on the Giants’ roster, head coach Joe Judge said in May, “We fully intend for him to be a member of the Giants.’’
The reunion should be made official in plenty of time before the July 27 start of training camp.
“It pains me to announce my withdrawal from competing for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics with the USA Men’s Sevens,” Ebner posted on social media. “After the 2020 NFL season, I had an injury that required off-season surgery. While my recovery is on track for the next football season, unfortunately the time tables did not align with trials for the Games.’’
Ebner, 32, played eight seasons for the Patriots (Judge was his special teams coordinator) before coming to the Giants in 2020. As one of the team captains, he got on the field for 80 percent (332) of the special teams snaps and only 39 snaps on defense at safety.
“He’s a guy that’s very locked in and focused,’’ Judge said. “He’s a very important part of this team and we look forward to getting him back.’’