Patriots’ Bill Belichick: Other players will get opportunity with Nate Ebner out

The New England Patriots’ first fake punt since 2004 came at a price. New England will be without special teamer Nate Ebner for the rest of the season.

Ebner suffered a season-ending knee injury when he successful ran for a first down when the Patriots ran a fake punt versus the Miami Dolphins in Week 12. The Patriots put Ebner on injured reserve, the team announced.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says the team will have to move on without one of their best special teams players.

“Unfortunate part of the game . . . other players will get an opportunity,” Belichick said, per Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “That’s what a team’s about.”

Ebner wears multiple hats on special teams. Multiple players will be asked to step up in his absence. New England’s special teams unit has quietly played well this season, even without Pro Bowl special teams ace Matthew Slater who has only played in five games due to a hamstring injury. Now the Patriots will have another impact special teamer injured.

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