Football history was made rather quietly over the weekend in Texas.
During an Indoor Football League game between the Texas Revolution and the North Texas Crunch, 36-year-old Jennifer Welter got three carries, making her the first woman to play a non-kicking position in a pro football league.
Welter, who has starred at linebacker for a decade for the Dallas Diamonds of the Women's Football Alliance, got her first carry midway through the third quarter. She took a handoff from two yards out of the end zone and scampered around the left tackle. But the 5-foot-2, 130 pound Welter was met by 6-4, 245-pound defensive lineman Cedric Hearvey for a one-yard loss.
Somehow, Welter was unfazed by the hit.
"I said, 'Is that all you got?'" Welter asked Hearvey. "I didn't want them to think I was intimidated."
Via Louis Ojeda Jr. of Fox Sports, here's a video of the play:
Welter had her number called twice more in goal line situations, but she wasn't able to score either time.
The Revolution beat the Crunch, 54-30, and Welter gained immense respect from both her team and her opponents.
“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."
After the game Welter said her effort wasn't necessarily meant to demonstrate that women can play with men, but to show that women are just as passionate about the sport and deserve a larger stage to showcase their talents.
“I'm an athlete, I’m competitive," she told For The Win. “But the bigger thing for me is obviously for little girls to see they can do everything just like little boys can."
In 1970, Pat Parlinkas was a kick holder for the Continental Football League's Orlando Panthers, so some might argue the distinction of Welter being the first woman to be a non-kicker. But there's no dispute that Welter was the first carry the ball on a play from scrimmage.
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