Nate Ebner becomes the latest Patriots free agent to jump to a former coach's team, joining Joe Judge and the New York Giants per a report from Ian Rapoport. In all, Ebner makes the sixth Patriot to sign with a team coached by a former Patriots assistant, including Duron Harmon who was traded to Matt Patricia in Detroit. Early in free agency these teams have picked New England's free agents almost dry.
Ebner played eight seasons with New England after being a surprise sixth-round draft pick out of Ohio State. He didn't have a true NFL position and the use of a draft pick on him was surprising to many. But Ebner emerged as a core special teams player and played a significant role in the Patriots three most recent Super Bowl championships. For most of his career he played the great majority of special teams snaps.
This past season, Erik Scalavino wrote an outstanding piece about Ebner's personal story which puts into perspective the kind of person he is and what he's been through.
Ebner was the kind of bedrock player that the Patriots dynasty has been built on. He might not have gotten a lot of headlines but he did the dirty work that help teams win. While ultimately replaceable on the field, Ebner was a special person and player who brought a lot to New England.
As always, Bill Belichick will be on the hunt for more special teams players like him.