Although Dr. Jennifer Welter is only 5-foot-2 and weighs a mere 130 pounds, she’s no light-weight.
The 36-year-old linebacker for the Women’s Football Alliance’s Dallas Diamonds made history Saturday night by becoming the first female non-kicker to play in a men’s pro football game.
“I’ve thought of all the reasons why I might be the wrong person to do this. ‘You’re too small, you’re too this, you’re too that,’ ” said Welter. “The truth is if I can change the game, literally, for any of those girls, it’s worth it.
“Because it’s really not about me. It’s about them and the future of the sport.”
She’s not the first to play in a men’s league, but she is the first to play a contact postion.
Welter, who is a sports psychologist, played running back Saturday for the Indoor Football League’s Texas Revolution and carried the ball for a 1-yard loss inside the red zone on her first carry, stopped by 6-foot-4, 245-pound, Cedric Hearvey.
“Honestly, it was very weird,” Hearvey said after the game. “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?’ I really have a lot of respect for that lady over there.”
Welter had two more carries near the goal line but failed to get the touchdown.
“I’ve been impressed with her grit and her desire,” Revolution coach Chris Williams said. “And even, in some cases, in the beginning I thought even delusional thoughts that she had about being able to play the game. But as I watched her, I’m impressed with how she comes to work every day.”
Image via Dr Jen Welter, Twitter