Running Back Nicholas “Nick” Ricciardulli Returns To Italy’s Milano Rhinos

The reigning Italian champion Milano Rhinos were happy that a key cog in their 2016 championship run, running back Nick Ricciardulli, has agreed to return to Italy and the Rhinos.

The 5’8″, 198 lb native of Poway, California rushed for 2,010 yards and 29 touchdowns in 12 games for the Rhinos in 2016 on 240 carries. In the title game against the Bolzano Giants, Ricciardulli rushed for 200 yards and four touchdowns in Milano’s 44-18 victory.

Ricciardulli played at Humboldt State (NCAA Div. II) where he finished his career with 2,139 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.

American Football International chatted with Ricciardulli about returning to Italy and the Milano Rhinos.

American Football International: How did you come to sign with the Milano Rhinos in 2016? And why return to Milano?

Ricciardulli: I was talking to a handful of teams before I ever came to Europe to play ball. What stood out about the Rhinos was a chance to play for a legend in Coach Chris Ault. I knew playing for a good coach like that would put me in a position to be successful.


Ricciardulli en route to one of his 4 TDs

AFI: After winning the IFL title in 2016, what are your goals in 2017?

Ricciardulli: I want to build off what we did last season and I want the 2017 Rhinos to be remembered as one of the best teams to ever play in Italy. To do that we will need to repeat as Italian Champions and win the Champions League tournament.

AFI: What does it mean to have your brother come to Italy to play for the Ancona Dolphins?

Ricciardulli: I’m excited for my brother. He’s had opportunities to continue his career every step of the way. This season, the timing was perfect and he ended up at a team that finished the regular season 10-0 last season. I really think he will be a key contributor in helping take the Dolphins to new heights this season.

AFI: What do you think you bring to the Rhinos?

Ricciardulli: I’m a guy who strives to be the toughest guy on the field at all times. I give everything I have every game. And i try to show my teammates what it means to be a ball player in terms of practice habits, work ethic and heart.

AFI: Tell us a little bit about the Rhinos organization from your perspective. What makes this organization special?

Ricciardulli: The Rhinos want to win and they will do everything they can to get that done. We have the best coach in all of Europe. Our management is meticulous in all the planning and recruiting. And most importantly, our guys love football and they want to be successful.

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Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.