Jen Welter, the first woman to hold a coaching position in the NFL, is out of the NFL, at least for the time being. She was hired by the Cardinals as a preseason intern, and that internship expired after the team’s third exhibition game Sunday.
Welter confirmed the news to Fortune Wednesday, acknowledging that she won’t be present on the sidelines when Arizona plays Denver in both teams’ final preseason game Thursday. Also on Wednesday, Welter, who maintains a busy social media presence, re-tweeted a request for the Cardinals to bring her back.
Arizona, under the guidance of Coach Bruce Arians, made history when it gave Welter a shot at helping coach its linebackers. No problems with that arrangement emerged publicly, and Cardinals players were complimentary of the job she did.
“She’s a great lady,” inside linebacker Kevin Minter said recently (via the Associated Press). “She’s helped a lot and she’s a stickler about fundamentals and what not. She knows a lot about making you better as a person, too, with the notes she left on your locker, the words of encouragement from what she sees on film. She was like a real good person to feed off of.”
Welter, 37, played linebacker for 14 years in women’s football leagues, and, in 2014, she played running back and coached linebackers for a men’s professional indoor football team, the Texas Revolution. The head coach of that team, Devin Wyman, said (via ESPN) that his players initially didn’t take Welter seriously, but they came to appreciate and respect her coaching ability.
Now Welter has an even more impressive accomplishment to put on her résumé, not mention an exhilarating experience.
“It’s been fantastic,” she said (via AP). “This is such a good group of guys who I think really embraced what could have been a challenging situation, and they just ran with it. I mean these players and these coaches have just been fantastic for me. It’s been like a dream come true.” …
“I am waiting to see what will happen next and I’m really excited,” she said. “I consider this a complete win. The biggest question coming in was would guys in the NFL respond to a woman coaching them, and the obvious answer is yes.”