According to reports, the Arizona Cardinals have hired the NFL's first female coach to assist with their linebacking corp. Jen Welter, a former college rugby player, and the first woman to ever play for a men's professional football team in a roll other than as a kicker or placeholder, has been hired as a coach throughout training camp and the preseason. During her short but groundbreaking tenure, she will work with the team’s inside linebackers.

In his two years with the Cardinals, head coach Bruce Arians has assembled an eclectic mix of young and old assistants, ranging in age from their 20s to their late 70s. Arians had mentioned last spring that such a move was possible, though he says he had no specific plans at that time.

 first full-time female official

Welter made history in 2014, becoming the first woman to fill a non-kicking position in a men's professional football league, playing running back and special teams for the Indoor Football League’s Texas Revolution. She was introduced earlier this year as the Revolution's new linebackers and special teams coach, again making history by becoming the first woman to coach in a men’s pro league.

“I wanted to open that door,” Arians said of Welter's hiring. “Coaching is nothing more than teaching. The one thing I’ve learned from players: All they want to know 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. I’ll listen. I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity through this internship to open some doors.”

When asked about Thomas' hiring last spring, Arians mentioned that it would be reasonable to foresee a woman becoming an NFL coach. Welter will be among 7 coaching interns working with the Cardinals this summer.

nfl.com/arizonacardinals