It is no news flash that the Falcons need help at wide receiver. Any fan that has watched a Falcons game in the past five years could tell you that. So how is Atlanta going to fix it? Well, signing Joe Horn is a good start. Drafting a receiver in the third round of the draft; check. Signing a Japanese kick returner from NFL Europa...Excuse me? Now we're talking:
The Falcons signed wide receiver Noriaki Kinoshita, a native of Osaka, Japan. Kinoshita (pronounced Nor-ee-ah-key Key-no-she-tah) spent the past three years with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europa and graduated from Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan.
Kinoshita, 5 feet 10, 179 pounds, had 909 combined net yards with the Admirals last season, second in NFL Europa. He was the league's fourth-leading kick returner with 532 yards on 23 returns for a 23.6 average. As a receiver, Kinoshita finished with 21 catches for 308 yards and two touchdowns, which was second-best on the Admirals.
Kinoshita would be the first Japanese player to play in the NFL if he makes the team. So will he be able to? Considering he is making the minimum salary, and the Falcons were 26th in the NFL in punt return average, it would seem that he has a decent shot. So Atlanta fans, you know what you have to do; get crackin on those nicknames.