Nate Ebner reflects on journey to football, relationship with late father in new book


Nate Ebner is one of just seven players in NFL history to participate in the Olympics and also win a pro football championship. But of those seven players, how many have written and published a memoir? Perhaps Ebner stands alone.

The free agent safety and special teamer joined The Zach Gelb Show on Tuesday to discuss his newly released memoir, "Finish Strong: A Father's Code and a Son's Path," which tells the story of his journey from Olympic rugby to football and his close relationship with his father, who was tragically killed during an attempted robbery in 2008.

"He was my best friend of all time, so it was definitely a tough time for me," Ebner said. "But I was lucky to have such a good father. That changed my mindset from being the victim, which, in a way, I was. I lost my dad in a way that no one should lose a parent... No one should go through that. But once you get off of that, you grieve, you go through that mental process, and change that thought process toward, 'What can I do?' My mom was a huge part in bringing that out. And she just had to say the right words at the right time. But ultimately, changing your mindset to, 'What can I do that would make him proud? What type of life can I live from here on out that would represent him well and he would be proud to say he raised me?'

"I had my dad up to 19. I was very lucky to have him, and to have such a great father as I did. I have friends who lost father figures in their early teens. What a tragic time to lose a father figure when you need him the most in your life. For me, at 19, I lost him very young. But he had taught me a lot... I was very lucky to have him as long as I did, and I switched that mindset from being a victim and feeling sorry for myself and turning it to, 'I'm going to live a life he's going to be proud of, because he was great to me. So I'm going to let him live through my life.' That way, I carry him with me as I go on.

"I think really being in a good place with that has allowed me to move forward with so much confidence. And, in a way, I just feel like he's always been with me in many tough times. I think everyone's situation is different, but having the mindset that you don't need to allow tragedy to define who you are is an extremely important part of my book. And I hope that people see it as a takeaway after reading it."

The entire conversation between Ebner and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow The Zach Gelb Show on Twitter @ZachGelb and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.