Kirkland, who played 11 NFL seasons with the Steelers, Seahawks and Eagles, spent the offseason as a Cardinals’ coaching intern. Arians said because colleges and the NFL start training camps about the same time, the window for interns who work on the college level – like those who come through the Bill Walsh minority coaching fellowship – is too tight. Retired players who want to get into coaching have the ability to work with a team longer.
Welter wasn’t the only addition to the staff. Former Pro Bowl linebacker Levon Kirkland will work with outside linebackers for the next two seasons under the Bill Bidwill Coaching Fellowship, a new program designed to help recently retired players gain experience in coaching.
“Coaching is nothing more than teaching,” Arians said Monday. “One thing I have learned from players is, ‘How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t care if you’re the Green Hornet, man, I’ll listen.’ I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her.”
It was soon after that Arians heard from the coach of the Texas Revolution in the Indoor Football League, who told Arians the Revolution already had a female on its staff that would be worth a look. Monday, Arians brought in Jen Welter – the one-time collegiate rugby player who played 14 seasons of pro football, mostly in the Women’s Football Alliance – as a training camp/preseason intern coaching inside linebackers. Welter is believed to be the first woman to hold a coaching position of any kind in the NFL.
Darren Urban azcardinals.com Email @cardschatter Blog