Giants new special team catalyst Nate Ebner knows what it takes to become an Olympian, which is why he's hoping that the postponed 2020 Olympic Games will indeed take place in 2021 in Tokyo.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Games -- originally scheduled for July 24-August 9 of this year -- are being pushed back to July 23, 2021, and are set to close August 8, 2021.
The 31-year-old Ebner played on the United States rugby team at the 2016 Games in Rio.
"I hope things settle down and everything goes back to normal. I definitely hope the Olympics are held in 2021 like they are saying," Ebner said on a conference call on Tuesday. "My heart would be absolutely broken for those who have fought so hard to get to this point and then have it ripped away. ... The rugby players that I had personal experiences with, trying to make the 2016 team, they were young and coming for this opportunity, to have it taken away. I have seen personally the work they put in and the years before that, trying to get in in 2016. To have it potentially be cancelled and then the next opportunity be in 2024, my heart would just break for those guys and girls. I hope that doesn't happen.
"Right now, they just need to figure out things on a weekly basis, on a daily basis like the rest of the world is, like the rest of the country is. Until that time, the Olympics have been postponed for a year so they can settle things down."
Originally a sixth-round pick out of Ohio State in 2012, Ebner played his first eight NFL seasons with the New England Patriots. Now a member of the Giants, Ebner reunites with Joe Judge, who, of course, comes to the Giants after a long run as the Patriots' special teams coordinator.
"Joe works extremely hard, I'm probably going to say that a couple more times. He is an extremely hard worker, he pays attention to the details," Ebner said. "He really pays attention to the details. He comes to work with a lot of energy and he did that consistently over the eight years that I've known him. I think that is a genuine part of him. I think he is going to bring that same energy and hopefully that same attention to detail and work ethic.
"At the end of the day, he cares a lot about his guys, I can't say that about a lot of coaches. I think that's special and I think that's hopefully going to want to make a lot of players play for him."
As Ebner mentioned, Judge has talked about the importance of paying attention to the little details involved with the game. And by the way Ebner talks about his approach to playing special teams, it sounds like a lot of that attention to detail from Judge has rubbed off on him.
"To me, there are little intricacies within everything that I do, special teams or as a safety, that are very relatable, whether it be calling protections on punt protection, or just as you make checks on defense or offense or whatnot," said Ebner. "No one really looks at those intricacies as much as they do offense or defense, but they're out there and they're happening in every game. In the kicking game just as well.
"Those finer points can be the difference-maker, especially in a phase of the game that's a one-play series. You don't get four downs. You don't have a bunch of opportunities. You get one chance. Sometimes, those opportunities can be game-changing opportunities. Every game, you're going to get a handful of opportunities to change the game. ... Those details matter, and I think having played as long as I have, I hopefully can kind of build on what I've experienced."