Washington Redskins Hire the NFL's First Female African American Full-Time Coaching Intern

Jennifer King will make history joining the Washington Redskins for the upcoming season

Carolina Panthers coaching intern Jennifer King, left, talks with Elijah Holyfield (33) during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in Spartanburg, S.C Panthers Camp Football, Spartanburg, USA - 29 Jul 2019
Photo: Chuck Burton/AP/Shutterstock

The Washington Redskins are making history by hiring the NFL’s first female African American full-time coaching intern.

According to ESPN, Jennifer King has been hired for the coaching intern position on the Redskins. She becomes the second African American female coaching intern in the league, following Collette Smith who had an internship with the New York Jets during training, the outlet reported.

King previously served as a wide receivers coaching intern with the Carolina Panthers, before taking up a position as an offensive assistant at Dartmouth College in 2019 when the Panthers parted ways with coach Ron Rivera.

Rivera, now the head coach of the Redskins, called King a “great addition” to the team’s staff.

“Jennifer is a bright young coach and will be a great addition to our staff,” he said in a statement, according to ESPN. “Her familiarity with my expectations as a coach and my firsthand knowledge of her work ethic and preparation were big factors in bringing her to the Redskins.”

According to the outlet, Rivera and King met at the 2016 NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum.

“Part of it, it’s all about the fan base,” Rivera told ESPN in 2018 about envisioning a day where a woman becomes a head coach in the NFL. “It’s also knowing the moms out there that understand the game. It’s important because they really do control as to whether their kids are going to play. This is something that has to be developed.”

“It helps us in a lot of ways,” he added. “It also shows everybody deserves an opportunity.”

Last year, the San Francisco 49ers hired Katie Sowers, just the second woman to hold a full-time coaching position in the NFL.

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Sowers made history by becoming the first female assistant coach to appear in the Super Bowl when the 49ers advanced to the big game after beating the Green Bay Packers in the AFC Championship.

The 33-year-old started her NFL career as a training camp assistant with the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 before joining the 49ers as an intern in 2017. She was promoted to her current role in 2019.

“It’s funny when people always ask, do the guys respect you?” Sowers told PEOPLE last year. “I’ve never had any type of negative attitude toward me because I work with true professionals. It’s definitely an organization that is out to create change in our community, on and off the field.”

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