New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 30: Nate Ebner of the New England Patriots warms up before a game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 30: Nate Ebner of the New England Patriots warms up before a game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

After returning from an ACL injury to again be a special teams mainstay for the Patriots, Nate Ebner has been recognized for his courage and perseverance.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that Ebner has been named the team’s winner of the 2018 Ed Block Courage Award, given annually to the player who “best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration”. Ebner and the winners from the other 31 teams will be recognized at the Ed Block Courage Awards banquet on March 23, 2019 in Baltimore.

Ebner becomes the second straight special teams cornerstone to win the award from the Patriots, following Matthew Slater in 2017. Tom Brady won the award back in 2009, as did Rob Gronkowski in 2014.

Originally injuring his ACL on Nov. 26, 2017 against the Miami Dolphins, Ebner spent most of 2018 training camp and the preseason working in a limited capacity. He ended up leading the Patriots with 329 special teams snaps during the regular season (72.6 percent).

Named after the former Baltimore Colts trainer and noted humanitarian, the Ed Block Courage award is typically awarded to players who overcame major injuries or personal tragedies. Considering Ebner’s relatively quick return from his ACL injury, which he followed up with a season as the Patriots’ most utilized special teamer, he certainly fits the bill.

Proceeds from the awards banquet will benefit the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, which is “committed to heightening awareness of the plight of abused children in cities throughout the league.”

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.