Just a week after recording his first official tackles as a member of the Colorado State rams, a former sumo wrestler received an unexpected honor, reported On3.com.
Hidetora Hanada received a team jersey with his name written in Japanese on the back.
When Hanada announced his intention to join the Rams last year, he postponed his career in Japan as a professional sumo wrestler.
“For the rest of the season, Hidetora Hanada’s nameplate will have his name written in kanji,” the Ram’s official account tweeted in Japanese. “We want him to remember home! He is a great addition to our team!”
Hanada grew up in Wakayama, 50 miles south of Osaka. While he excelled in his home country in sumo wrestling, his dream has been to play football.
“I watched the NFL since I was seven years old,” he told Denver7.
He caught the attention of defensive line coach Buddha Williams.
“He put together a highlight tape with sumo wrestling, combine stuff and football stuff. When I saw how explosive he was coming out of his stance, how flexible he was, I was like ‘he’s got some tools that can carry over and translate to this game.’”
Hanada’s preparation for his move to Colorado started in late 2022 when he began to learn English. He’s even become comfortable with American music and listens to rapper Polo G everyday.
“I want to play football, but in Japan it’s a minor sport,” Hanada said. “I admire players like Aaron Donald. His technique, his quickness, and his height and weight are the same as me.”
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