Running Back Jennifer Welter Makes Men's Pro Football History

Image: Running Back Jennifer Welter Makes Men's Pro Football History

Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 08:58 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Despite taking several hard hits, 36-year-old Texas Revolution running back Jennifer Welter persevered during an indoor football preseason game over the weekend to become the first woman non-kicker or placekick-holder to play in a men's professional football game.

Welter, a former college rugby player who has her doctorate in psychology, got her shot at running back Saturday in the Dallas suburb of Allen. Texas Revolution beat the North Texas Crunch 64-30 on the 8-on-8 Indoor Football League, The Dallas Morning News reported.

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In the third quarter, the 5'2", 130-pound Welter tried to score a touchdown two yards out when she ran into the 6'4", 245-pound defensive lineman Cedrick Hearvey, knocking her into the Revolution's backfield for a one-yard loss. 

"I said, 'Is that all you got?'" Welter told the Morning News she said to Hearvey after the hit. "They (Crunch players) were getting all alive, and I had to say something. I didn't want them to think I was intimidated."

The same thing happened the next play when she tried to carry, as she gained one yard on a fourth down play as Crunch players prevented her from scoring.

"Honestly, it was very weird," Hearvey said. "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?' Honestly, I really have a lot of respect for that lady over there."

Revolution coach Chris Williams said he was "impressed with her grit and her desire" but declined to say if Welter earned a spot on the team's regular season roster. He has until Wednesday to make a final decision.

Welter, who earned her bachelor's degree from Boston College, played rugby there and for the local women's football team Mass Mutiny before moving to Dallas to play with several women's football teams there, according to her website. 

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