King spent the past two summers as a part-time coaching intern for Rivera when he ran the Carolina Panthers. In 2018, she worked with the Panthers’ wide receivers before helping with the team’s running backs during this past offseason’s workouts and training camp.
“Jennifer is a bright young coach and will be a great addition to our staff,” Rivera said in a statement announcing her hiring. “Her familiarity with my expectations as a coach and my firsthand knowledge of her work ethic and preparation were big factors in bringing her to the Redskins.”
King, who played softball and basketball at Guilford College in North Carolina, also played in the Women’s Football Alliance, winning a national championship with the New York Sharks. As a basketball coach, she led Johnson & Wales to a U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association Division II national championship in 2018. She told the Panthers’ website that during that year’s Pro Bowl she met Rivera at a forum meant for women to establish those types of connections with the league. He invited her to speak to the team and eventually invited her to be a coaching intern.
She also assisted in coaching wide receivers and special teams last year for the Alliance of American Football’s Arizona Hotshots before that league stopped play during its first season. This past fall, she was an offensive assistant on Dartmouth’s football team.
More NFL teams are adding women to their coaching staffs. San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant Katie Sowers just became the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Bruce Arians added two women to his full-time staff not long after his hiring in early 2019.
Olsen visits Redskins
Free agent tight end Greg Olsen was at Redskins headquarters Monday, a person with knowledge of the situation said. The 34-year-old played the past nine years for Rivera with Carolina after beginning his career with the Chicago Bears. He left the Panthers this year in what the team described as a mutual parting. He has caught 718 passes for 8,444 yards and 59 touchdowns in his 13-year career but has been slowed by injuries in recent seasons.
Olsen did play 14 games this past season, catching 52 passes for 597 yards and two touchdowns.
The Redskins need tight ends after Vernon Davis’s retirement and the uncertainty about Jordan Reed’s future. Olsen has already met with the Buffalo Bills and is supposed to talk with the Seattle Seahawks this week. He is expected to weigh any offers to play against a possible television career. He was a broadcaster for an XFL game Sunday on Fox.
Mark Maske contributed to this report.