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Nihon U. dirty tackler apologizes to teammates over suspension, considers comeback

In this May 22, 2018 file photo, Nihon University American football club linebacker Taisuke Miyagawa appears at a news conference in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- A Nihon University American football club linebacker has apologized to teammates for a May dirty tackle that resulted in the team's suspension from the collegiate league, and signaled his wish to return if circumstances are right, people close to the team told the Mainichi Shimbun on Aug. 16.

Taisuke Miyagawa, 20, had told a May 20 news conference that he wanted to leave the club, as he believed that he "doesn't have the right to continue playing American football." However his teammates wanted him to come back, and stated, "If possible, we are hoping (for Miyagawa) to return to the team so we can play together."

The Kantoh Collegiate Football Association (KCFA) has suspended Miyagawa as well as his team from official games for this season over a dangerous late tackle against a Kwansei Gakuin University quarterback on May 6. The team needs approval from the KFCA board of directors to return to the field.

The KCFA expelled ex-Nihon University head coach Masato Uchida and ex-assistant coach Tsutomu Inoue -- who were also dismissed by the school -- after concluding the pair had ordered Miyagawa to carry out the dirty hit. Isao Hashizume, formerly of Ritsumeikan University, will officially assume the head coach post at Nihon University on Sept. 1.

(Japanese original by Kazuhiro Tahara, Sports News Department)

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