Former Japan linebacker Masafumi Kawaguchi confidently vowed to make the San Francisco 49ers final roster and become the first Japanese player in the NFL as the 30-year-old Ritsumeikan University alumni heads to the Niners’ training camp.

“I can imagine myself standing on the sideline of the 49ers on the NFL season opener,” Kawaguchi said in a news conference at a Tokyo hotel on Friday.

“I can’t clearly explain the reason why, but I just have a feeling that I can make the team.” Kawaguchi, a seven-year NFL Europe veteran, also had an offer to join the training camps of the Buccaneers and Jets, who are to come to Japan for the next month’s NFL Tokyo 2003 game (Aug. 2 at Tokyo Dome), but he opted to join the 49ers because he took part in San Francisco’s camp last summer.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.