RWU HQ – When the Arizona Cardinals hired Jen Welter to help coach inside linebackers through the preseason, they made an NFL first. Welter’s, a former Boston College rugger, is believed to be the first female coach in the National Football League.
“I didn’t start playing football to be here,” Welter said, during her introductory press conference via azcardinals.com. “The beauty of this (is), while it wasn’t a dream I could have ever had, now it’s a dream other girls can grow up having.”
Welter has 14 years of experience in the game, including two gold-medal winning appearances with the United States in the International Federation of American Football’s Women’s World Championship, and was a linebackers and special teams coach for the Indoor Football League’s Texas Revolution earlier this year.
For Arizona head coach Bruce Arians, he was looking to better his coaching staff and didn’t care what path he took to do so.
“I wanted to open that door,” Arians said, via azcentral.com. “Coaching is nothing more than teaching. The one thing I’ve learned from players: all they want to know is ‘How you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t (care) if you’re the Green Hornet. I’ll listen.’
“I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity through this internship to open some doors.”
Since Welter’s addition to the coaching staff earlier in the week, players around the league have swarm to the support of the hire; including Cardinals inside linebacker Kevin Minter.
“I feel like the league is changing, and we’re seeing this in our lifetimes,” Minter said. “Gay players, women coaches – it’s kind of cool to be a part of it.
“Whether you are a women or a dude, if we’re doing our thing and getting better as a team, I’m all for it.”
Welter also graduated with a master’s degree in sports psychology and a PhD in psychology from Boston College.
“I’ve been in love with this game for a long time,” Welter said.
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