Lauren Silberman became the first female participant to compete in an NFL regional scouting combine on Sunday. Unfortunately, her tryout was both short and underwhelming.
Silberman, who was one of 38 kickers to take part in the combine at the New York Jets' facility, kicked only twice. Both attempts were kickoffs and only one actually crossed the midfield line. In fact, her two kicks combined to travel a total of just 30 yards.
She called it quits early after claiming she aggravated a quad injury she suffered during practice the week before.
Katie Hnida, the first woman to score a point in a Division I football game, believes Silberman's showing may have actually done more bad than good in regards to other females hoping to pursue the sport.
"Her performance does not have to do with her gender. It has to do with her experience and her preparation," Hnida, a former kicker for Colorado and New Mexico, told USA TODAY Sports by phone. "Unfortunately, what's going to happen now is she's going to be looked at (as inferior) because she was female. "But she was terrible."
Video of one of Silberman's kicks can be seen at the end of this post.
Hnida is currently recovering from a blood clot that has put her Arena League career on hold.
Aside from the fact that Silberman didn't kick too well, Hnida also slammed her for other reasons. Silberman couldn't figure out how to stand the ball on the tee without it falling, she lined up six yards behind the ball instead of the standard approach of 10 or more yards, and Hnida also noted that Silberman's technique was "terrible."
Three kickers who tried out along with Silberman said she asked them how to approach the ball on the kick.
Silberman didn't take any warm-up kicks before the tryout, citing the fact that she was nursing an injury. Hnida doesn't buy her claim.
"I also find it curious she didn't warm up. You never go in kicking cold," Hnida said. "There's a reason why the kickers are the first people out there. It takes us a while to warm up."
Some now fear that females may have an even harder path to receive a fair shake on the football field, including Hnida.
"It is disappointing," Hnida said. "I hoped she would go out and do justice for an NFL tryout, because there are lots of people who have dreamed of going to the NFL. It should be something serious."
Silberman played soccer at the University of Wisconsin before attending MIT for her Master's degree. It was there at MIT in which she wrote a thesis about how video games help athletes enhance their own performance. She then took her thesis one step further when she founded a consulting company that helps athletes use video games to train.
Although her performance on Sunday was less than stellar, at least she had the courage to put herself out there.
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