Category Archives: Patriots Jerseys 2020

Junior Seau Jersey

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MEXICO CITY — This metropolis feels awfully similar to Los Angeles, or at least parts of Los Angeles.
Traffic is brutal. There’s a Starbucks on every other block. KFC, Burger King, PF Chang’s, Hooters, they’re all here. The magazine stands on the sidewalks sell coloring books of Dora the Explorer and Paw Patrol. Many of the television programs are dubbed versions of U.S. shows.

There is one major difference: Some people here wear Chargers jerseys.

Not just at the stadium and not just on game day.

Around town. On the streets. In the taquerias.

Philip Rivers jerseys, Joey Bosa jerseys, even some Junior Seau jerseys.

Then again, NFL jerseys are everywhere, even some really obscure ones.

Nate Ebner Jersey

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“We were just getting to that point where we were enjoying each other as buddies… It was a very love-filled relationship. He loved me more than anyone; I probably loved him more than anyone else.”

Nate Ebner is referencing his late father, Jeff. In his own childhood, Jeff experienced certain challenges which informed the ideal of parenthood that he hoped to achieve someday. As a result, Jeff diligently cultivated his relationship with Nate from the beginning, and, according to Nate’s grandmother, Lyla Bailin, “it just kept on developing.”

Until, without warning, a stranger interrupted it. Only 53 at the time, Jeff succumbed on Nov. 14, 2008 to injuries incurred a day earlier during a violent assault at the hands of an invader at the Ebner family’s junkyard.

Jeff and an adolescent Nate Ebner.
Photo courtesy Nancy Pritchett
Jeff and an adolescent Nate Ebner.
“It just sucks,” Nate continues, “to lose not only your parent, but your best friend… No one should die the way he did.”

Losing his father in so horrific a manner, at such a pivotal time, presented a fork in his life’s road. One direction could have led him down a foreboding trail; with his mother’s assistance, Nate instead chose the more constructive course. Grandfather Dick, stepmother Amy, and other family members on both sides also did whatever they could, whenever they could, to help Nate stay true to himself after Jeff’s death.

Nate will turn 31 next month. Today, Nancy Pritchett offers a frank assessment of how her son has evolved as a person over the intervening eleven years.

Nate and his mother, Nancy, at the Super Bowl XLIX ring ceremony.
Photo courtesy Nancy Pritchett
Nate and his mother, Nancy, at the Super Bowl XLIX ring ceremony.
“I think he’s gone kind of inside himself. He’s put up some walls. He’s more serious than maybe he would have been,” she estimates. “He’s a little heavier [emotionally]. There’s a weight he carries around. It’s much lighter today than it was 10 years ago, but I think it may have changed his ability to enjoy life to the extent he would have if his dad were still here.

“Time helps heal that. He’s better than he was – I think he would have been a different person without football – but it weighs on him when special things happen.”

Special things, like his wedding this past spring to longtime girlfriend Chelsey, who Nancy believes has helped ease Nate’s burden.

“I don’t think he could have picked a better person to be with. They work well together. He knows that she’s with him because of him, not because he was an Ohio State football player, not because he’s a Patriot. She likes Nate for Nate. That’s important to him. They have a lot in common. She’s very driven. Very athletic. It’ll be interesting if they have kids.”

At the end of March, more than a month after winning his third Super Bowl with New England, Nate swept Chelsey off to Rome, then down to Italy’s historically beautiful Amalfi Coast. There, the couple married and spent a fortnight enjoying each other’s company well into April. Of all the places they explored, none left Nate more spellbound than the cliff-clinging town of Ravello.

“The views and the pictures were… awesome,” he pines with a smile. “Between the two of us, we just kind of wanted to get away from the spectacle of things. I’m a non-drama person. I’m going to do all I can to avoid it. She was all about that.

“Obviously, it’s a bit selfish on our part, but we had a reception party back home for the rest of the family and friends that wanted to attend.”

Upon returning to the U.S., Nate also got back to work, taking part in the Patriots’ offseason training program. Starting in mid-April, the workouts, organized team activity practices (OTAs), and minicamp sessions encroached into early June. Almost immediately thereafter, he packed his bags once more for an altogether different, though no less sentimental overseas voyage.

Nate Ebner, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Ann Bailin in Israel, June 2019.
Photo by Eric J. Adler
Nate Ebner, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Ann Bailin in Israel, June 2019.
A WINK FROM GOD
Some six months before Jeff died, Ann Bailin took her half-brother on a trip to Monte Carlo and Barcelona, which she’d earned as a performance-based incentive from her employer. They had no way of knowing at the time just how special it would be. Though not nearly the siblings’ first time traveling together, it would prove their last.

After Jeff’s death, Ann resolved to attend almost all of her nephew’s Ohio State football games, home or away. Week after week, she’d sit in the stands alongside Nate’s mom, Nancy.

“I missed two games,” Ann explains, “because I was in a wedding, and one game, he didn’t play.”

For his 21st birthday, she whisked him off to Las Vegas. For the Summer Olympics in 2016, Ann couldn’t wait to book her passage to Brazil.

“I wasn’t going to miss that!” she exclaims. “As soon as he made the [U.S. Rugby] team, I’m on the phone with the travel agent, talking to his mom… I wouldn’t say I put my life on hold, but I did a lot, because I wanted to, just to be there for Nate.”

In 2019, Nate’s turn came.

For the past several years, Patriots owner Robert Kraft has organized guided tours of Israel for select NFL legends and their invited guests. Unable for various reasons to accept previous offers to join the pilgrimage, Nate finally did so this year. The trip was reserved exclusively for current New England players and Patriots alumni.

When told he could bring a plus-one, Nate naturally first thought of his new wife, Chelsey, but she’d already exhausted her vacation time on their wedding trip. So, he decided to treat Aunt Ann, who celebrated her milestone 50th birthday in 2019.

“I just knew,” Nate says, “how much it would mean to take my aunt – being Jewish, not having been to Israel, both of us sharing my dad in a way. I thought she would get the most out of that trip.”

Ann admits, “I got a little verklempt, I’m not going to lie. Got a little teary-eyed.” It wouldn’t be the first time she’d well up in Israel. A visit to Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, she reveals, “brought back memories of my getting Bat Mitzvah and having my brother there.”

“The whole trip,” adds Nate, “was about going because it was a place [my dad] said, ‘You need to go and check this out. It’s cooler than people make it out to be.’ You hear certain things about the Middle East, then you go there and it’s a completely different story.

“[Visiting Israel] changed my perspective. I think of the United States as a very patriotic nation, but Israel, they’re on another level of patriotism. And that’s because those people are in the middle of sacrificing, and they understand what’s on the line for them. They don’t want to give that up. They’re proud.

“With all Israeli citizens required to serve in their nation’s military, they’re a lot closer to the sacrifice that’s being made for their freedoms as a general population. It’s humble patriotism. I think a lot of our country has lost sight of the true sacrifices that are being made daily to protect our freedoms and our way of life. It’s more entitled patriotism.”

An example of this touched Nate and his aunt in a way they couldn’t have anticipated, during a stop at Caliber 3 Ltd., the Israeli Counter-Terror & Security Academy, where many of that nation’s military personnel go to train.

“For a lot of people on the trip,” Ann recalls, “it was a highlight.”