FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots defensive back Nate Ebner was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Ed Block Courage Award. The honor is bestowed annually upon a player who best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration. Ebner and award winners from the 31 other NFL teams will be honored at the 41st Annual Ed Block Courage Awards Banquet in Baltimore on March 23, 2019.
Ebner was limited to nine games in 2017, but returned to action in 2018 and led the team with 13 special teams tackles. He has totaled 10 or more special teams tackles in every season of his seven year career with the exception of 2017 when his play was limited due to injury.
Ebner originally joined the Patriots as a sixth-round draft pick out of Ohio state in the 2012 NFL Draft. A world-class rugby player who did not play football in high school, Ebner walked onto the Ohio State football program and finished his career as a scholarship player. He became the seventh player in NFL history to participate in the Olympics after being selected to the 2016 US Olympic rugby squad. That same season, he was named Associated Press second-team All-Pro for special teams after leading the Patriots and finishing tied for first in the NFL with 19 special teams tackles.
Some recent New England Patriots Ed Block Courage Award recipients include Matthew Slater (2017), Nate Solder (2016), Jerod Mayo (2015), Rob Gronkowski (2014), Sebastian Vollmer (2013), Logan Mankins (2012), Marcus Cannon (2011), Wes Welker (2010) and Tom Brady (2009).
The Ed Block Courage Award is named after Ed Block, a long-time head athletic trainer for the Baltimore Colts and a respected humanitarian dedicated to helping children. Recipients are often players who have overcome devastating injuries or tragedies in their personal lives to return to top-level competition in the NFL.
Officially organized in 1986, the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is sanctioned by the NFL and the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS). The foundation is committed to heightening awareness of the plight of abused children in cities throughout the league. Proceeds from the annual Courage Awards event benefit the Foundation's Courage House National Support Network For Kids.
For more information on the Ed Block Courage Award, please visit http://edblock.org/.