Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Nate Ebner (34) leads the Ohio State Buckeyes onto the field prior to the game between Toledo and Ohio State at Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Toledo 27-22.

Former Ohio State Buckeye Nate Ebner compares football and rugby prior to Olympics

Olympian/former Ohio State football player Nate Ebner’s appearance on the Dan Patrick Show this morning was probably intended to promote the Olympics, but it could have been an audition for a speaking slot at one of the national political conventions taking place this month.

Ebner, who is taking a hiatus from the New England Patriots to compete for Team USA in rugby sevens at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August, had a perfectly political answer for Patrick when he was asked which sport is tougher – football or rugby.

Related: Nate Ebner makes U.S. Rugby Sevens Olympic team

“It just depends on what your definition of toughness is to me,” said Ebner, who was a special teams ace at Ohio State before being drafted by the Pats. “If it’s about how hard you hit, I’d say football is probably gonna take that one just because of the physicality of the game, but there are aspects to rugby that are extremely tough when it comes to cardiovascular fitness because the amount of mileage we have to run in such a short period of time then tackle and get back up and compete.

“There’s a very tough aspect of cardiovascular fitness that is in rugby, especially rugby sevens that you don’t see in football.”

He also said one big hit in football can reverberate longer (as in all week) than what he usually encounters in rugby, but the latter lends itself to more bumps, bruises and cuts.

Ebner told Patrick the U.S. is definitely a contender for a medal in Rio, noting the Eagles have defeated teams such as Fiji and New Zealand this year but not accrued enough points to move into the top three of the world rankings.

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