Trestan Ebner impresses with surprising physicality originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Trestan Ebner is a sixth-round draft pick fighting not only to carve out a role in the Bears offense, but fighting for a job as well. It’s not a unique position to be in, but Ebner was given a unique opportunity. He was tabbed to return the first preseason kickoff, giving him the chance to make a play before anyone else on the team.
Standing in the endzone, waiting for the game to start, Ebner was nervous.
“I knew I was returning that one, and that was just getting the nerves out of the way, getting the first NFL hit out of the way,” Ebner said. “I’m glad it opened up from great blocking, but I’m glad I got hit a little bit too, so it was a nice feel.”
Other than returning the kick for a touchdown, it was about as good of a start as Ebner could’ve hoped for. Ebner fielded the ball with his feet on the goal line, and returned it all the way to the 34-yard line. That’s nine yards better than if he had simply kneeled for a touchback. Embracing the hit was good foreshadowing for the rest of his day too.
Ebner added a big run in the second quarter, once again gaining extra yards by choosing the physical route and lowering his shoulder.
His biggest play, however, was a receiving touchdown, where yet again, Ebner fought through contact.
“I knew if I was going to score I was going to take a big hit,” Ebner said. “So it really just came down to me wanting to get in more than him, I feel, and I was able to get in through that.”
Before the game if you asked people to describe Ebner, the adjectives you’d most often hear would probably be “shifty,” “agile,” and “fast” above all else. “Physical” would probably not come up at all, but Ebner said he believes physicality is a part of his game, and something he deliberately tries to bring to the table.
“I feel like it energizes the sideline,” Ebner said. “These games are kinda long and back-and-forth, so any kind of energy that I can give to the team, and help guys stay motivated and pumped up, I try to do.”
Ebner has been one of the players to rise the most from rookie minicamp through the first preseason game. He went from a player who made mistakes on the field, to one of their most promising-looking playmakers in a matter of months. He’s already passed Darrynton Evans on the depth chart to become the team’s No. 3 running back, and he may not be done yet. But Ebner recognizes that he’s still a rookie, and understands the importance of making the most of every opportunity in front of him.
“You want to earn the respect of the guys in the locker room,” Ebner said. “You want the coaches to see why they picked you, or why they at least decided to let you come here. I think that’s the biggest thing. That means the most, when I can get love from these other guys and show them that I’m meant to wear the ‘C’ on my head.”