FOXBORO — Sunday was a big day of injury news in Foxboro as Dion Lewis, Sebastian Vollmer and Shaq Mason are all reportedly dealing with injuries. Meanwhile, Tom Brady has been excused for the next two days for what’s being termed “non injury-related” reasons. WEEI’s Mike Petraglia has the details.
The Patriots have released safety Cedric Thompson. according to his agent David Canter.
The 6-foot, 210-pounder out of Minnesota was signed by New England to the practice squad this past January after being taken in the fifth round of the 2015 draft by the Dolphins. The 23-year-old has not played in any regular season games to this point in his career.
FOXBORO — After the sporting experience of a lifetime, Nate Ebner is now about the business of getting ready for the daily grind of the NFL.
The player who helped provide national exposure to US Rugby during Rio spoke Sunday back in familiar ground – in front of his locker stall inside Gillette Stadium – getting ready for another Patriots season.
Ebner, who was actually suited up in full gamepads on Thursday but did not play against the Bears, spoke about what the support from teammates meant to him.
From the spring to now, Ebner has been on a whirlwind of rugby events and training for Rio. Once he was on the team, he had full concentration there. It paid off with a 5-point try in a 26-0 win over host Brazil and another try against Fiji in a 24-19 loss. Team USA Rugby finished ninth in Rio.
“You train [for rugby], you go on tour around the world for a little bit and then the Olympics comes around, you make the squad and you go. And now I’m here. Yeah, it kind of goes by quick.”
Might he try again for Tokyo in 2020?
“I have no idea. I’m worried about getting back on track here with the football team. Take that one day at a time. That’s so far away that I can’t even see it yet,” Ebner said.
On Sunday, Ebner was quick to thank his Patriots teammates and coaches for all the support, which included the coaches wearing his No. 12 rugby number on t-shirts during a joint practice with the Saints.
“I didn’t know anything like that would go down,” Ebner said. “Just from the amount of support that my teammates show me, texted me and calling me and seeing how things are going, even the coaches, like I said, the support they showed me through the whole thing, not just the Olympics but all the other tours and asking me how my journey was going in the Olympic camp, I can’t say enough about these guys here. It meant the world to me to have that support, especially in a very difficult training environment out there in California.”
“As you can see, my teammates here. Just the support that I was shown through the whole experience was amazing. Couldn’t say enough about that stuff. It was what was expected. I fully committed to the rugby team. Once that job was completed, I came [back to Foxboro]. Whatever is on my plate, is on my plate. Can’t really do anything about it. Just take it one step at a time, one day at a time. Just get back on track with things, really.”
Bill Belichick noted that Ebner will have to get reacquainted with playing with 22 players on a field and the speed of the NFL game. How different will it be for Ebner to train for NFL games again?
“I don’t know. I’ll have to answer that once I get back into things more and maybe I’ll have a better answer. I can’t answer that yet,” Ebner said. “I don’t know. It’s a different game. There are different moments. That situation was what it was. It’s really just going to come down to once I get back into the things, see how things feel. Maybe I can answer that better in the upcoming weeks.”
Ebner did not get into the type of trouble or face the same issues as Ryan Lochte and the three other swimmers in Rio, mostly because there was no time for distractions.
“Not a whole lot. We first got there, probably trained every day, multiple times a day,” Ebner said. “Got to see a lot of the Olympic Village and things of that nature but we just came to do a job and trained most of the time. A lot of those guys that stayed afterwards got to experience some stuff but I came back as soon as [rugby playing] was over.
“We had training so much that we didn’t really have time to go do anything else, so it was training, then it was the games, then we came back. I literally left the next day so I never really ran into that problem. I can say the Village was far away from a lot of things, though, and it was very secluded. That was good for us. We just stayed focused, stayed in the village. I can only speak for myself.
“It was a cool experience I’ve never had before. Lots of different athletes from all over the world. It was just crazy to see just tons of different athletes speaking different languages. It was cool experience. It was very unique, unlike anything I’ll ever experience again probably, unless you’re back at the Olympics. It was very cool.”
Here are some other takeaways from Ebner on Sunday:
Comparing Super Bowl vs. Olympic Parade of Nations in opening ceremonies: “Very different but similar at the same time. They’re very cool in their own right. Being part of the Super Bowl, that’s a great experience, unique and special for football and teammates and everyone here. But the Olympics, it’s a completely different thing and that was also extremely special in its own right, as well, so both are very memorable experiences for sure.”
On interaction with US basketball Dream team: “Not in particular. It was just taking the whole thing in. For what it was, I didn’t really care to see anyone in particular. It was just a cool experience, whoever you ran across, to either see them or talk to them for a second, they’re all pretty humble people. It was a cool experience to meet the basketball team and a couple other athletes as well.”
On thinking of his late father (Jeffery Ebner) down there? “I don’t know. I don’t how many times, in particular, that was I was thinking about that exact moment, that exact thing. Like I’ve said before, my dad was always a big part of my life so he’s part of everything, not just the rugby stuff. Yeah, it was a special moment. I had a lot of support from not only my thoughts of him but my other family that was there. My friends back home [in Ohio] texted me.”
The Dion Lewis injury news wasn’t the only bad news the Patriots received on Sunday, as their offensive line is banged up as well.
According to the Boston Globe’s Jim McBride, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is likely heading to injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. He’s currently on PUP.
McBride also reports right guard Shaq Mason has a broken hand and the timetable for his return is unknown.
This explains why Mason didn’t play in Thursday’s second preseason game. Veteran lineman Josh Kline played in his place. With all of these injuries, it would appear the Patriots’ offensive line might look something like this Week 1 (from left-to-right): Nate Solder, Joe Thuney, David Andrews/Bryan Stork, Kline and Marcus Cannon.
It’s important to note with Vollmer and the possibility of injured reserve, the rule has changed this year as teams don’t need to designate a player to return, teams can simply choose a player who’s been on injured reserve for at least six weeks and activate him once he’s healthy enough to play again.
The quarterback is not expected to be at practice either day; however, both absences are “excused” and “not injury-related,” according to the report.
Brady has been sidelined for the first two games of the preseason. The quarterback was not available for Friday’s contest against the Bears after he reportedly sliced his right thumb with a pair of scissors, an injury that is not serious.
He was also not on the sidelines for the first preseason game against the Saints — the team indicate that he was attending a memorial service that night.