Spanish RB Adrian Jimenez powering through Europe

As the Osos Rivas were driving the ball towards the end zone against the Murcia Cobras earlier this season in Spanish League of American Football action, quarterback Garrett Dellechiaie knew who to hand the ball to for the touchdown.

His Spanish powerhouse of a running back, Adrian Jimenez.

Jimenez proved him right, bouncing the run outside, meeting a Cobras‘ linebacker right at the line of scrimmage, keeping his legs driving ahead, pushing back multiple Murcia defenders. When the bodies finally hit the turf, the ball was three yards deep in the end zone.

The hard-nosed tailback was back in familiar territory after returning home for another season of football. The year before, he had started in Spain with Osos but the season was cut short so he wound up in Denmark, playing for the Triangle Razorbacks, where the season was also halted as the playoffs were about to start due to the pandemic.

Jimenez was part of a powerful running attack for the Hildesheim Invaders during the German Football League 2019 season

In fact, in recent years, he has been a football nomad. That wasn’t always the case though. The powerful running back’s football journey actually began in 2011 when he first saw the game. But it was the swag and gear of the football players that initially drew Jimenez to the gridiron. Once he started playing though, he fell in love with the combination of swagger and physicality that meshes between the white lines.

“When I was seven years old my family decided to move to a “little” city in the suburbs of Madrid “Rivas Vaciamadrid”, a quieter place. A few years later, I saw a field with some people playing a game of American football. In that moment I realized that an American football team exists in my town. After that I started to practice with the Osos Rivas in Madrid.”

Jimenez played for the Madrid-based Osos Rivas for seven years, splitting time at linebacker and running back. The two-way athlete was raw but showed explosive athleticism and strength as he continued to develop. In 2018, football changed his life as he decided to join the UNC Crusaders, a second division team in Lohja, Finland. Jimenez again contributed on both sides of the ball, rushing for over 100 yards on the season and making 23 tackles and 2 sacks.

Jimenez on the move to Finland.

“It was something totally unexpected. One of my best friends was doing the season there. I just went to visit him to have a good time and also visit Finland. Someday after a game I talked with the HC of the team and he offered me to play there for next season, so I did it.”

The year playing abroad led to more film, more connections, and better football opportunities. The next year, the physical Spanish speedster was playing in Europe’s top league, this time for the Hildesheim Invaders in the German Football League. Jimenez contributed to the Invaders first ever playoff run totaling 329 all-purpose yards.

Jimenez #1 being hauled down from behind after big gain for Denmark’s Triangle Razorbacks Photo: Thomas Pedersen

Jimenez admits he truly enjoyed playing in the German Football League:

“I just loved to play in that league because of the level of the football and the players, it was nothing comparable to where I had played before. You were “forced” to become a better player and commit, and I loved it. Every day was a challenge and an opportunity to improve. I love the competition, so that place was perfect for challenging yourself.”

After returning home to Madrid in 2020, Jimenez played for the Osos Rivas once again before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled his home country’s season. Later that summer, Jimenez was signed by the defending Danish champion Triangle Razorbacks. In his new role as the feature back for the Razorbacks, Jimenez blossomed. His fierce and physical running style made him a load for defenders to tackle. In four games with the Razorback’s the Madrid native ran for 335 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, the Razorbacks and Jimenez were unable to finish the season as the pandemic once again ended their season prematurely.

Still, Jimenez is thankful for the experience.

“It was awesome, I felt so blessed to be able to play football in Europe in the middle of a pandemic. My own adaptation to Denmark was good. The weather helps me a lot, it was a great, sunny, and warm summer. The Razorbacks organization welcomed me with open arms, and the relationship with the teammates was really good. It was a total pleasure to play in that team.”

This year, the bruising running back has returned to his hometown, and is suiting up for the team where his football journey started. So far, Jimenez has played in two of the Osos Rivas three games helping them to a 2-1 record. He is an impactful running back splitting carries with Italian-American veteran Mike Gentili.

Jimenez suited up for the UNC Crusaders in Finland in 2018

Jimenez on how it felt to be back in the Osos Rivas red and yellow.

“It felt awesome to be in the field with teammates that I was playing with since around 2012. The football in Spain is improving year by year and also the level of the imports that the Spanish teams are brining is improving. The level in Spain is becoming better but there is still a lot of work to do.”

The Osos Rivas lost a close game last weekend to the Las Rozas Black Demons 35-28. But they are certainly still very much in the hunt for the Spanish title. Look for Jimenez and his Madrid squad to be a force in the Spanish league as the season wears on. Jimenez’s football future looks bright as he is eager to continue to play around Europe while studying and working his business.

“I would love to continue playing around Europe and also study for a master’s degree somewhere.  I consider myself a multitask guy, so I need to be doing “several” things at the same time, I kinda hate the laziness. Outside of the football lifestyle, I had a company of representation of Video Players and streamers, “Influgamers” which are established in Spain. This is something that could give me the opportunity to play in other countries managing the company wherever I would be.”

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football