Japanese kicker looking for NFL shot

A Japanese kicker hopes to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL, and he has two teams in particular in mind.

According to a report from the Kyodo News, kicker Toshiki Sato said he has drawn some degree of interest from the Cowboys and Raiders, which has sparked his hopes of eventually getting there.

Of course, there’s a long distance from “some interest” to “invite to camp even when rosters are at 90,” but the 26-year-old said he’s hoping for the best after a workout in March.

“The Cowboys and Raiders are interested. I’m waiting for an offer,” Sato said. “The Cowboys might be difficult since they have three kickers and one has a big contract, but the Raiders only have two. I think there’s a chance I could get an invite if those two don’t do well at the upcoming camp.”

It’s good that Sato understands that he’s probably not going to replace Greg Zeurlein right off the bat, but he apparently does have some interest from a CFL team as well.

He plays for a team called IBM Big Blue in Japan’s X-League, where he hit a 58-yard field goal in a game to set the league record, and hopes to keep pursuing his dream. He also played in The Spring League in 2019.

“It’s a contact sport, so there’s a disadvantage in terms of body size and speed,” he said of making it in football. “But it’s crucial for a kicker to be clutch considering how likely they can decide the outcome of the game. It’s the only position where you can fight with your mental strength and not just your physical power. Being a kicker eliminates as much as possible the elements that prevent Japanese people from becoming NFL players.”