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'Dr. Jen' embraces breakthrough role with Arizona Cardinals - ABC NEWS 4

By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Jen Welter accepts the title of trailblazer, embraces the chance to be a role model for girls and, perhaps most of all , can't wait to get beyond the hype and on to work when the Arizona Cardinals open training camp this weekend.

It's only a six-week internship coaching inside linebackers for the Cardinals, through training camp and the four preseason games. Nonetheless, it marks another barrier broken for women in sports.

Welter said she never dared entertain the thought of coaching in the NFL.

"I didn't even dream that it was possible," she said at news conference at Cardinals headquarters Tuesday. "I think the beauty of this is that, though it's a dream I never could have had, now it's a dream other girls can grow up and have. So I guess if that makes me a trailblazer, then."

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians finished her sentence.

"She's a trailblazer," he said.

Team President Michael Bidwill said the move has the enthusiastic support of the organization, which has long been known for hiring minorities for management positions. Bidwill said he spoke Monday night with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who congratulated the Cardinals on the move.

Known as Dr. Jen back in Texas, Welter has a PhD in psychology as well as a season as a player on a men's team, the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League.

There are a lot of people who are better than her at the X's and O's of football, she said, "but the heart factor, the intelligent player factor, the being-the-person-with-the-motor-who-won't-quit factor, those are things I know I can add to."

Welter is the latest woman to enter what had been a men-only position. In April, the NFL announced that Sarah Thomas would be the league's first full-time female official. The NBA long has had a female official. And Becky Hammon is an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs and recently was head coach... Source: www.abcnews4.com



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