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Welter is first female NFL coach
28 Jul 2015 16:04
Jen Welter has become the NFL's first female coach after being hired as pre-season intern for the Arizona Cardinals' training camp.
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The 37-year-old is used to blazing a trail, having become the first woman to play - other than as a kicker or punter - and coach in a men's professional league with the Indoor Football League's Texas Revolution.
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She will now work with the Cardinals' inside linebackers - headed by former first-round pick Sean Weatherspoon - at their camp at their home ground, the University of Phoenix Stadium.
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Rookies Alani Fua, Andrae Kirk, Edwin Jackson and Gabe Martin will begin training with Welter on Tuesday, with Weatherspoon and fellow veterans Darryl Sharpton, Kevin Minter, Glenn Carson and Kenny Demens joining up on Friday.
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Head coach Bruce Arians told the Cardinals' website: "She came for an OTA and I met her, and I thought she was the type of person that could handle this in a very positive way for women and open that door.
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"Coaching is nothing more than teaching. One thing I have learned from players is (they think), 'How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don't care if you're the Green Hornet, man, I'll listen.'
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"I really believe she'll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her.
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"It's not going to be a distraction in any way. I believe very strongly in it."
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Welter wrote on Twitter: "I am honored to be a part of this amazing team. Special thanks to @BruceArians & the @AZCardinals".
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Arians hinted such an appointment could be close back in April when the NFL hired its first full-time female official, Sarah Thomas.
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"Someone asked me, 'When are we going to have female coaches?"' Arians told ESPN.com at the time.
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"The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they'll be hired."
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At the same time as Welter's arrival was announced, previous Cards intern Levon Kirkland was given a two-year contract under the team's Bill Bidwill Coaching Fellowship to work with their outside linebackers.
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