Noriaki Kinoshita

Noriaki Kinoshita

Noriaki Kinoshita (Japanese: 木下 典明, born December 29, 1982 in , Japan) is an American football wide receiver who is a practice squad player for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. He was signed by the Amsterdam Admirals in 2005. He played college football at Ritsumeikan.

Early years

Started to play American football at the age of five immediately excelling. He played in various different positions; quarterback, running back, receiver, defensive back and on special teams, before settling as receiver at Ritsumeikan University, after his coach advised him that he would have the best chance in making the team if he stuck to wide receiver.

College career

Attended the Ritsumeikan University where he majored in business administration and was a standout wide receiver for the Ritsumeikan Panthers. Helped his team reach four Koshien Bowls, winning three and help the Panthers win 2 out of those 3 Rice Bowl (Japanese championship) games. Earned Koshien Bowl honors three times (Mills Cup, MVP, NFL Special Award).

Professional career

Amsterdam Admirals

Struggled throughout the season due to an injury early on (broken finger), English conversation and crowd noise. Posted one reception for 12 yards and 21 yards on a single kickoff return. Part of the Admirals team that won the first World Bowl in their franchise history; World Bowl XIII.

Had a standout season helping the Amsterdam Admirals to a World Bowl XIV berth for the second year in a row. Led NFL Europa on kickoff returns with an average of 27.9 for a total of 530 yards in 19 attempts with a long of 82 yards, added a 59 yard punt return for a touchdown as well and posted 12 receptions for a total of 188 yards as a receiver. Was named Special Teams Player of the Week twice and selected to the all NFL Europa team 2006 as special teams player.

Returned to the Amsterdam Admirals for his third NFL Europa season. 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 in what would be the final season of NFL Europa.

Atlanta Falcons

On June 28, Kinoshita signed with his favorite team, the Atlanta Falcons, and will be competing throughout training camp for a roster spot. "I am very excited to compete at the Falcons' training camp with other great players," says Kinoshita. "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." He was released by the Falcons at the end of training camp.

On July 23, 2008, Kinoshita was assigned to the Falcons as an International Practice Squad player. Kinoshita is the only Japanese player of the 16 international players to sign onto NFL practice squads.

References

External links

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