Joe Judge says Giants plan on Nate Ebner return after Olympic rugby push

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Joe Judge said Saturday that the Giants “fully intend” to re-sign special teams captain Nate Ebner for 2021.

Ebner, 32, is an unsigned free agent as he trains with the U.S. Olympic rugby team for the summer games in Japan in July. But Judge said “we fully intend for him to be a member of the Giants” and the team is “supporting” Ebner in his rugby effort, which Judge saw firsthand when both were New England Patriots in 2016.

“That’s an experience I’ve been through with him before,” Judge said. “Actually he returned from the Olympics in 2016 and had a tremendous year for us. So I’ve gone through this before with him. I understand exactly how his training applies [with] rugby and can lead into football, and look, honestly it was one of his most productive years ever.”

Judge brought Ebner with him to the Giants last season as a free agent. On Saturday, the coach raved about Ebner as “a guy that’s very locked in and focused.”

“He was a captain last year and is a great team leader,” he said. “This team, what he’s helping build is very important for him. And while I don’t speak for anyone else, I don’t mind echoing that for Nate because I know I can speak very directly and honestly. But look, he’s a very important part of this team and we look forward to getting him back.”

Ebner theoretically could miss the start of training camp, but eventually he’ll be back in the fold to try and help Judge take the Giants to the next level in year two.