By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Looking to stir up controversy over Nate Ebner’s decision to forego part of Patriots training camp to play rugby sevens in the Olympics? Don’t. Think Bill Belichick might have a problem with it? You’re wrong.

Belichick and (apparently) the rest of the Patriots coaching staff showed their support for the safety/special teamer, who will play for the Team U.S.A. men’s rugby sevens squad starting Tuesday in Rio, by wearing a U.S.A. shirt with Ebner’s name and jersey number 12 to the first joint practice between the Pats and New Orleans Saints.

Belichick has plenty to worry about getting the team ready for Thursday’s preseason opener against the Saints – not to mention, the potential injury concerns the team could have coming out of the first joint practice. But it’s clear now where his heart lies when it comes to Ebner’s decision to leave the team to realize his Olympic dream.

Here’s the complete schedule for men’s rugby sevens at the Rio Olympics, if you wish to cheer Ebner on yourself. The first match for Team U.S.A. is at noon eastern time against Argentina.

Matt Dolloff is a writer for His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at


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