There are few Jewish athletes I have wanted to interview more than Nate Ebner. Not because he is the best Jewish athlete playing right now, but he might be the winningest. It seems like wherever Ebner goes success seems to follow. From his days at the legendary Ohio State Football program, to playing a vital role on the Super Patriots, to his Olympic rugby run Ebner is a tremendous athlete and winner. With the NFL draft, my favorite day of the year, drawing near we spoke with one of the NFL’s best Jewish players of all-time.
1) What is it like playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes? Is the Michigan game as big of a deal for the players as it is for the fans?
Playing for Ohio State is an amazing experience. More fans every Saturday than any other pro team or college team can say they have other than 1 or 2 exceptions. It is also one of a couple of Universities that prepare you for the NFL at the level in which they do it. Its nearly like playing professional ball the way meetings and practices and workout programs are handled. The OSU Michigan game is a big deal for everyone, fans, players, coaches, the city of Columbus. Its something you start talking about as soon as the football season is over and your starting to prepare for the next season. We have a countdown clock that literally goes 365 waiting for the kickoff of “THE GAME.” Every off season workout has some Michigan additive for motivation. So when it comes time for the game it is as big of a deal as all the hype because its been hyped all year long and it doesn’t matter what you do all season if you lose that game its like having a losing season. And a lot of the times, that game is very important because its at the end of the season when both teams have a lot on the line and need to win.
2) When did you realize that the NFL was a real possibility?
4) What is the best part of being a Patriot? What was your favorite moment?
The Patriots were extremely supportive of me playing in the Olympics. Did you see the shirts they all wore while my games were on!? A lot of players throughout the team and league had reached out to me to wish me luck and let me know they’ve been keeping up and watching. The Pats watched one of my games in the squad room as a team in between meetings and when I got back a lot of the players told me about it and what they thought and it was all very positive and supportive.
As a youngster I went to temple on Sundays with my dad. We would celebrate the major holidays. As I got older my football games were on Sundays so that interfered with going to temple. I kept celebrating the holidays with family and still do when the football season doesn’t get in the way.
We have yet to do so.