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Bills Hire Kathryn Smith as NFL’s First Full-Time Female Assistant

Kathryn SmithKathryn Smith
Kathryn Smith of the Buffalo Bills NFL football team in 2015.Photograph by AP

The Buffalo Bills have hired Kathryn Smith as a special teams quality control coach, making her the first full-time female assistant in NFL history, the team announced Wednesday night.

ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio first reported the news.

Smith worked as the administrative assistant to head coach Rex Ryan last season and in 2014 when both were with the Jets organization. Smith was a player personnel assistant with the Jets for seven years prior, and also worked for the team as an intern.

“Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff,” said Ryan in a statement. “She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities, and I just know she’s going to do a great job serving in the role of Quality Control-Special Teams.”

The Arizona Cardinals hired Jen Welter as a training camp assistant before the 2015 season, but her position was temporary. Ryan said he consulted with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians before making the decision to promote Smith.

The Bills went 8–8 last season in Ryan’s first year as head coach.