Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians calls Jen Welter ‘a trailblazer’
The Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday formally introduced Jen Welter, who is believed to be the first woman to ever serve on an NFL coaching staff in any capacity. It goes without saying that Welter, who will serve as a summer coaching intern and work with the team’s inside linebackers, is indebted to Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians for receiving such a historic opportunity.
Welter understands how much she owes Arians all too well, and paid the coach tremendous respect during a presser inside the auditorium at the Cardinals’ practice facility in Tempe, Ariz.
“Somebody asked me, ‘How did this happen?’ ” Welter said, via a report from The Los Angeles Times. “I said, ‘It was the sheer will of a very strong man called Bruce Arians.’ No other way. This was all his bravery, and that’s why people follow him.”
Welter insists that Arians was keenly interested in her football acumen and that he made her feel like she belonged from the onset.
“The best way I could say it is he welcomed me with open arms from minute one,” she said. “We were talking real football stuff, talking to me like I’d known him my whole life. And I thought, I know why this man is coach of the year.”
Arians obviously sees a lot in Welter, interrupting her at one point during the press conference to refer to her a “trailblazer,” via an ESPN report, adding he “always wanted to be able to help someone get an opportunity and create as many opportunities as we possibly can.”
When asked what she envisions will be the biggest obstacle she’ll have to overcome, Welter said it was “yet to be determined.”
Welter, 37, who became the first woman to play in a men’s professional football game in a non-kicking position, was asked by The Los Angeles Times before her press conference if she feels like a pioneer.
“Absolutely,” she said. “I’m blessed to be here. I can’t think of a place I’d rather be, or a coach I’d rather follow.”
As far as her quickly developed loyalty to Arians is concerned, it certainly appears like the feeling is mutual.
(image via Arizona Cardinals/Twitter)