Female Running Back Makes History in Pro Men's League

Jennifer Welter is first woman to do so

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 17, 2014 5:39 PM CST | Updated Feb 17, 2014 6:09 PM CST

(Newser) – The numbers may not be impressive on the stat sheet—three carries for a net loss of 1 yard—but Yahoo's PostGame blog is calling Jennifer Welter's performance over the weekend historic nonetheless. The 36-year-old became the first woman—not counting kickers or placekick holders—to play men's pro football when she took part in a game for the Texas Revolution in the Indoor Football League. The Dallas Morning News has details from the game, in which the 5-2, 130-pound Welter took her first handoff in the third quarter and got crushed by a 6-4, 245-pound opponent for a 1-yard-loss. “I said, 'Is that all you got?’" Welter told the paper afterward. "I had to say something. I didn’t want them to think I was intimidated.”

Welter got hit hard on all three carries, and at one point, one of her tacklers, Cedric Hearvey, went to the Revolution sideline and asked her coaches to remove her. “Honestly, it was very weird,” he said later. "Part of me wanted to let her score, but part of me had a job. So I was like, ‘Can y’all please take her out?'" The game was a preseason contest, and it's unclear whether Welter will make the final cut this week. Now don't expect a woman in the NFL anytime soon, if ever, writes Michael Terrill at Rant Sports, but give Welter her due. "She’s trying to be a pioneer for women in football while also garnering attention for the Women’s Football Alliance in a very courageous way," he writes. No matter what follows, "Welter’s achievement was a big step in the right direction."

A screen shot from the game. Jennifer Welter has just taken the handoff from the quarterback.
A screen shot from the game. Jennifer Welter has just taken the handoff from the quarterback.   (YouTube)
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Videos of Welter's carries in the game.   (YouTube)

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