WASHINGTON — The Redskins will soon have the NFL’s first African American female coach.
Jennifer King, who interned with new Washington coach Ron Rivera in Carolina, is in the final stages of negotiations to join the Redskins as an assistant coach, according to sources familiar with the situation.
King has experience as a quarterback and wide receiver in the Women’s Football Alliance, where she played for more than a decade. She also coached in the short-lived AAF last year.
King will join a handful of women who have been trailblazers in the NFL. Kathryn Smith was the first, when she was a quality control assistant with the Buffalo Bills in 2016, while Katie Sowers of the San Francisco 49ers gained fame this year for being the first female coach to reach the Super Bowl. Sowers is an offensive assistant in San Francisco.
In 2017, Collette Smith became the first African American woman to assist an NFL coaching staff when she worked as an intern with the New York Jets during training camp. King will be working in a full-time role.
When she was a Panthers assistant in 2018, King told the Charlotte Observer that she learned attention to detail from Rivera.
“I think the most important thing I learned from him was to be prepared,” she said. “We’re obviously given an opportunity to get a foot in the door. But you have to be prepared when you get there.”
Rivera told the Observer at the time that more female representation would be a good thing for football.
“The more people you get involved in the game, no matter who they are, I think it really helps build the fan base, too,” he said.
There are no female players currently in the NFL, though U.S. national team soccer player Carli Lloyd made waves last year after making a 55-yard field goal in a workout with the Philadelphia Eagles. She has hinted she may pursue an NFL job in the future.