PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania –
It used to be that women in the NFL were cheerleaders. Until recently, there has been a few novelty football leagues such as the Women’s Lingerie Football League (LFL) or the Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL); however, much like Women’s Basketball there is not much of an audience for these games. Other than the occasional “wardrobe malfunction” with the LFL, there really is not much excitement to these games.
With the recent ‘War on Women’ in the political arena, the NFL has decided to take a serious request in considering allowing female players in the NFL, when a request from 24-year-old Kaitlyn Saunders of Erie, PA arrived at St. Vincent College in Latrobe Pennsylvania requesting to try out as a kicker.
“I felt bad, but I told her this was the practice field and we don’t hold walk-on tryouts,” said Dan Calbright, spokesman for the Steelers coaching staff.
Traveling with her father and brother, Kaitlyn made the three hour trek just for a chance to try on the Black and Gold.
“I played soccer for years and I can really put a good boot on the ball,” Kaitlyn said with a toothy smile.
“She’s got a real strong leg,” her brother, Todd Saunders reported. “We were goofin’ off and she actually made a 53 yard goal.” Kaitlyn’s father backed up the story and stated they had her do it several times just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.
A spokesman for Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, stated they would give consideration to Kaitlyn pending an evaluation from Pittsburgh’s special teams coach, Danny Smith. When word of Kaitlyn’s skills made it back to Art Rooney, she was invited back to the Steeler’s main practice facility on Pittsburgh’s south side where she met with Danny Smith and the rest of the special team coaches.
“She’s an outstanding kicker and clearly has a strong leg,” Dan Smith reported. “She made a 58-yard kick at our south side facility.” Kaitlyn was 12 for 16 on the day during her invitational workouts, missing two from 45 yards out that she simply didn’t get enough lift on. They were knocked down by a net that is set up for the drill to ensure proper height. Kaitlyn also missed one from 50 yards out and another from 40 yards away.
Coach Smith gave no indication as to whether or not they would recommend Kaitlyn for an actual combine try out, however Roger Goodell’s office is making the consideration a possibility. When asked about drafting such a player, Danny Smith said, “If she’s invited to the combine I’d give her some serious consideration.”
“I’m just hoping that I can open up a couple barriers for the NFL next season,” said Kaitlyn. “They’ve seen what I can do, and now we’ll play the waiting game.”