FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots lost one of their best special teams players early in the second half of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Second-team All-Pro Nate Ebner exited the game in the third quarter with what the Patriots called a head injury. The team announced he would not return.

It was not immediately clear what caused Ebner’s injury.

After representing the United States in Olympic rugby sevens this past summer, Ebner played in all 16 games for New England during the regular season, leading the NFL with 21 special teams tackles. He plays on every special teams unit, including serving as the upback on the Patriots’ punt team.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images