Bills owner credits Kathryn Smith for earning her promotion

FILE - A May 2015 photo shows Kathryn Smith of the Buffalo Bills NFL football team. The Bills promoted Smith to be their special teams quality control coach, making her the first full-time female member of an NFL coaching staff. The team announced the move in a release Wednesday night, Jan. 20, 2016. Smith was an administrative assistant this season for Bills assistant coaches under Rex Ryan, with whom she has worked for seven years. (AP Photo/File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Bills co-owner Kim Pegula is congratulating Kathryn Smith for becoming the NFL's first full-time female assistant coach by saying she earned the promotion.

Pegula said in a statement released to The Associated Press on Thursday that Smith ''has proven that she does excellent work'' during seven years on Rex Ryan's staff.

Pegula says that while she understands the significance of the announcement, it's important to understand that Smith earned the job by being qualified and dedicated.

Pegula issued the statement a day after the Bills broke the league's gender barrier by promoting Smith to be their special teams quality control coach.

The move has generated a tremendous amount of buzz. Chelsea Clinton took notice by posting a note on Twitter. The daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton wrote ''(hash)NoCeilings'' in posting a link to a story about Smith's promotion.

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