The Arizona Cardinals have hired Jen Welter as a training-camp/exhibition-season intern coaching inside linebackers. Team officials said Welter is believed to be the first woman to hold a coaching position of any kind in the league
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Arizona Cardinals have hired Jen Welter as a training-camp/exhibition-season intern coaching inside linebackers.
Team officials said Welter, 37, is believed to be the first woman to hold a coaching position of any kind in the league.
“I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Monday.
Welter wrote on Twitter: “I am honored to be a part of this amazing team.”
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It is another first for Welter, who has a doctorate in psychology.
She played running back and special teams last year for the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League, becoming the first woman to hold a non-kicking-game position in a men’s pro league.
Welter coached linebackers and special teams for the Revolution last season, becoming the first woman to coach in a men’s pro football league.
Welter played linebacker for 14-plus seasons in the Women’s Football Alliance, mostly with the Dallas Diamonds, where she helped the team win four championships.
A news conference was scheduled for Tuesday to introduce Welter and Levon Kirkland, a former Pro Bowl linebacker who is the inaugural participant in the Bill Bidwill Coaching Fellowship — established to give retired players chances to coach in the league. The 46-year-old Kirkland, who was a starting linebacker for the Seahawks in 2001, will work with Arizona’s outside linebackers for the next two seasons.
• Carolina offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, the player harassed during the Miami Dolphins’ 2013 bullying scandal, is contemplating retirement.
Martin’s agent, Ken Zuckerman, said his client recently injured his back during a workout. Zuckerman said doctors informed Martin, 25, he needs surgery, putting his availability for the season in question.
Zuckerman said he advised Martin “not to rule anything out,” but added his client would rather retire than have surgery.
“He tells me he’s not going to play,” Zuckerman said.
• The league is preparing to send out instructions to game officials and teams explaining new rules for inspecting footballs. Two people familiar with the plans told The Associated Press proper inflation of the footballs will be documented as part of the new policy.
Among the details being considered for the new policy: checking pressure readings for every ball before the game and again at halftime.
These changes stem from the use of underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game, which led to a four-game suspension for New England quarterback Tom Brady, a $1 million fine for the Patriots and the loss of two draft picks.
Brady has appealed the suspension and is awaiting commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling. The NFL Players Association and league officials are involved in talks about a settlement on Brady’s punishment, sources told ESPN.
• Cleveland coach Mike Pettine said Josh McCown likely will start the regular-season opener, but said second-year QB Johnny Manziel has a chance to win the job.