FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Dreams were dashed, but history was still made Sunday night for an East Village woman trying to become the first female player in NFL history.
As CBS News’ Adriana Diaz reported, Lauren Silberman, 28, took aim as a kicker Sunday. While Silberman attempted to put her best foot forward at the Regional Scouting Combine in Florham Park, N.J., but her tryout only lasted two kicks.
Both attempts came up short. The first kick went 19 yards, and the second about 13 yards.
Silberman said she had hoped to kick the ball father, but the NFL regional tryout said she hurt her leg practicing this week.
“I suffered a quad injury. I tried staying off it and waited for today. I didn’t even take kicks in warmup,” she said. “It’s pretty hard to know that you’d be in pain and wanted to work through it, and I certainly tried to, but I couldn’t do it today.”
After Silberman’s failed kicks, she stopped and met with medical staff. She never returned to the field to take the six kicks that remained, saying she didn’t want her injury to get worse.
“I tried to work through the pain,” Silberman said. “The distance wasn’t there, but hopefully the scouts noticed my form.”
John Beake, who directs scouting for the NFL, was sympathetic toward Silberman’s difficulty.
“I felt bad for her, because I know she wanted it to work out and show her skill and ability,” Beake said.
Silberman has never been on a football team. She played club soccer at the university of Wisconsin-Madison and went to grad school at MIT.
She only started kicking footballs as a hobby a few months ago.
Thirty-eight kickers were evaluated at this regional try out. Scouts said they look for accuracy and kicking strength.
Just a week after race car driver Danica Patrick made new strides for women at the Daytona 500, Silberman wanted to leave her own mark in sports. That dream was cut short, but she hopes she opened the door for others.
“I might be the first woman trying out for the NFL but I hope I’m not the last,” she said.
If given the chance, Silberman said she will take another shot at making history.
Experts have said Silberman also can use this opportunity as a steppingstone to other ventures. Public speaking, perhaps, or even some sports marketing.
“The real upside is if she reaches the next level,” said Steve Rosner, a partner with 16W Marketing in New Jersey. “Kickers, in general, aren’t brands. Very rare. Even someone like Adam Vinatieri, who (has won) Super Bowls, would have to do a little more than kick to capitalize and endorse at the national level. The one thing she has that they don’t have is that she’s a woman. The uniqueness of her and the possible success she has will differentiate what she has at that position.”
While a woman has never played in the NFL, if the gender breakthrough did happen, it most likely would be at kicker.
Women have kicked or tried out for a roster spot in the college ranks for years. Just last season, former LSU women’s soccer goalkeeper Mo Isom tried out as a Tigers placekicker. In 2003, Katie Hnida became the first woman to kick for an NCAA Division I-A football team, scoring in one game for the University of New Mexico.
Sean Landeta, a Super Bowl champion and considered one of the NFL’s great punters, gave Silberman credit for competing, one way or the other.
“I think it’s courageous on her part in trying this, and certainly groundbreaking if she could prove her skills are good enough to play in the NFL,” he said. “What a team’s policy would be as far entertaining the thought in signing a female, that’s still debatable. No one knows that answer. … I give her points for giving it a shot. She’s obviously following her dream.”
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