Flowery Branch, Ga. (WRBL) – The NFL season kicks off in just over two months, and the Atlanta Falcons are back in Flowery Branch, Georgia getting ready for the 2023 season. Signature players like quarterback Desmond Ridder, and wide receiver Drake London are at the Falcons organized team activities to get in shape. Among the players at practice are two Asian Americans. Running back Tyler Allgeier, who is part Filipino, is looking to capitalize on his 1,000 yard rushing rookie season. There’s also reliable place kicker Younghoe Koo.
Koo and Allgeier are part of the less than two percent of Asian American in the NFL right now. Despite being in the minority of players in the NFL, Koo embraces the chance to be an ambassador for the sport.
“For me growing up I didn’t really look at Asians playing football in the NFL on Sundays or anything like that. So to give that hope and to at least that’s awesome and it’s an honor,” said Koo
Koo has been one of the more reliable kickers in the league, hitting 86% of his kicks last season. Even from kicks 50 yards or more the former Georgia Southern Eagle has hit 7 of out his 11 attempts. Not matter how far the field goal try is, Koo stays true to his approach to kicking which is similar to a golfer’s approach.
“It’s kind of the same idea as a golf swing you let the club do its work, you keep the same swing, whether it’s a pitching wedge or a 6-iron. That’s the kind of mindset I try to have,” said Koo.
They 5-year veteran also says to live out his dream in the NFL with Allgeier, who displays his Filipino heritage with a tattoo on his arm, is incredible. The best part is being embraced by their teammates.
“I mean that’s what is so special about a football locker room. It’s like every body from different backgrounds and different places. And just get to work together towards the same goal makes it special,” said Koo.
There’s one big change for the Atlanta kicker this season he will be wearing the #6 instead of his usual #7. 1st round draft pick running back Bijan Robinson will wear #7 this season. Koo said that the rookie running back actually asked him for the number and Koo was kind enough to give it to him.
The Atlanta Falcons first preseason game will be on August 11th against the Miami Dolphins. They kick off the regular season against the Carolina Panthers on September 10th