Falcons Sign Player From Another Country

One of the NFC South division teams signed a foreign player this week. That player will hope to contribute to their average group of receivers.


The Atlanta Falcons have signed wide receiver-return specialist NORIAKI KINOSHITA, a native of Osaka, Japan.

The 24-year old Kinoshita spent the past three seasons playing in the NFL Europa League and was selected to the All-NFL Europa team as the National return specialist in each of the past two years.

In 2007, Kinoshita led NFL Europa with a 15.9-yard punt-return average and ranked third with a 23.2-yard kickoff-return average. He also added 23 receptions for 364 yards and two touchdowns.

"I'm excited to see Nori compete in training camp with us," says Falcons head coach BOBBY PETRINO. "He has good experience playing in NFL Europa and he deserves a chance to be in an NFL training camp. We've already had stiff competition at the wide receiver position throughout our minicamps and offseason workouts, and Nori's presence now adds more to that position. We are also interesting in seeing his return skills."

Prior to playing in NFL Europa, Kinoshita played three seasons at Ritsumeikan University and helped the team win two national championships (2002 and 2003).

"I am very excited to compete at the Falcons' training camp with other great players," says Kinoshita, who hopes to become the first Japanese player in NFL history. "It is exciting as a Japanese player to
compete with American players, and I want to appeal to the fans in Atlanta. At the same time, I want to show the Japanese people how exciting the great game of football is."

American football has been played in Japan since 1934. Today more than 100 high schools and 200 universities field tackle football teams and nearly 200,000 youth participate in Flag Football programs in approximately 2,000 elementary and junior high schools. The X-League, Japan's corporate league which was founded in 1985, features 18 teams from around the country.

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