First female RB in men’s pro football league unfazed in debut
History was finally going to be made on a Saturday in February, but Jennifer Welter had to wait an extra two and a half quarters before the moment arrived.
For the first time ever, a woman was playing running back in a men’s professional football game.
The 36-year-old Women’s Pro Football veteran made her debut with the Indoor Football League’s Texas Revolution earlier this month after signing to try out for the team last month.
The Revolution cruised to a 64-30 win over the North Texas Crunch, but Welter wasn’t able to find the end zone.
Inside the 5-yard line midway through the third quarter, she took the handoff from the quarterback and saw a wide open hole, but that gap closed quickly and the 5-2, 130-pounder was knocked back for a loss.
It wasn’t pretty, but she wasn’t fazed after getting hit hard by former Division 1 college athletes.
“I said ‘Is that all you got?'” Welter told 6-4, 245-pound Crunch defensive lineman Cedric Hearvey. “I didn’t want them to think I was intimidated.”
Another opportunity to score a touchdown came early in the fourth quarter, but the defense didn’t budge.
It may have not gone the way Welter hoped on the field on Saturday, but she couldn’t be happier with her experience with the Revs.
“These guys have been what I would have hoped for in a perfect world,” Welter said. “They’re the best guys I’ve ever been around.”
For those questioning former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam’s decision to announce he’s gay heading into this year’s NFL Draft, Welter doesn’t believe it should be an issue in the locker room.
“If you’re a football player, you’re a football player,” Welter said. “When you play the game well, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female,” she said. “My hope would be that Michael Sam gets treated half as well by these men on the Revolution.”
Welter hasn’t officially made the team yet. But regardless if she makes the final cut, the Revs want her to be a part of the organization.
“I want Jen to be a part of this team in some capacity,” team owner Tommy Benizio said. “Whether it’s on the field or off the field, I hope she will become part of the Revolution family for the long term.”
Follow Louis Ojeda Jr. on Twitter @LouisOjedaJr