According to the New York Daily News, the New York Jets will hire former player and current Independent Women's Football League assistant coach Collette Smith to work with the team's secondary this summer. Sources told the Daily News that the organization—who has had an all-male staff throughout its 58-year history—will be hiring Smith, 44, as an intern for the summer, in a role similar role to Jen Welter's with the Arizona Cardinals two years ago.
Welter became the first female coach in the NFL in July 2015 when the Arizona Cardinals hired her as a preseason intern. Shortly after, in January 2016, the Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith as a quality control special teams coach, marking the first full-time position for a female coach in the NFL. Neither Welter nor Smith remain in the NFL—Welter's contract expired after her third preseason game, and Smith was not retained after the Bills fired Rex Ryan.
Smith, a Queens native and lifelong Jets fan, shadowed the Jets defensive line last year when she was introduced to the team by head coach Todd Bowles, a former player and coach under Arizona's Bruce Arians. Smith currently acts as a coach and marketing manager with the IWFL's New York Sharks. She took on a coaching and managerial role with the Sharks after suffering an injury during her third season as a player.
"I'm over the top. I'm humbled and I'm proud," said Smith. "This could have happened with any NFL team. But it just so happened that it was with my beloved New York Jets. This is bigger because of that. God forbid it would have been with the Patriots. But I still would have done it."
A Patriots diss, and then a PR correction? I think Smith is going to fit in just fine with the Jets.