Tom Brady and Nate Ebner each spent their entire NFL careers in New England before leaving as free agents this offseason. And while the resonance from each of those decisions has differed about as much you would expect them to when dealing with the greatest quarterback of all time and a career special teams player, they seem to have taken place for similar reasons.
At least that’s what Ebner said on Tuesday.
One of the newest Giants said on a conference call that he had to reflect long and hard about leaving the only team he’s ever known, and that Brady undoubtedly followed the same process.
“I mean there comes a time in everyone’s career where they are free agents,” Ebner said. “Every year you have to assess what is the best thing for you and this is the best for me. [Signing with another team] hasn’t happened throughout my career until this point, but it is something I’ve always assessed. At this point this is what is best for me and what I need to do.”
And Brady, who left the Patriots to sign with the Bucs? Ebner didn’t seem too surprised by that decision.
“Tom’s got to do what is best for him just like I have to do what is best for me,” Ebner said. “I see players every year go to new teams. The timing may be different in everyone’s career, but that assessment of what is best for you as a player and for your family, you do that assessment. Everyone does and everyone has to make that decision. That’s what he chose to do. We’ve seen countless other players do the same thing every year.”
Ebner would not discuss the “nitty gritty” of his other options as a free agent, or if the Patriots even wanted to bring him back. “Obviously there are lot of different scenarios that could have played out,” he said. His relationship with Joe Judge, who was his special teams coach the entirety of his career with the Patriots, certainly played a large role in his signing with the Giants. The team’s willingness to pay him $2 million guaranteed for a one-year deal undoubtedly played a part in it as well.
Ebner leaves a team where he played for eight seasons, went to four Super Bowls, won three championships, and never missed the postseason… to join a franchise that has just one postseason appearance and no playoff wins in that same timeframe. But he insists he feels good about it.
“Unfortunately it is a business and there are things that happen that you don’t necessarily like and you have to deal with them,” Ebner said. “That goes for both sides of it. Ultimately, like I said, you have to do what is best for you and I’m looking forward to coming to a great organization, a great team with a great fan base. I’m super excited about it.”