Waterloo Region Record

Lloyd is ready for the NFL if the NFL is ready for her


When Carli Lloyd turned up at the Philadelph­ia Eagles’ practice last week, it was mostly as a fan. But the lark turned serious when she pulled her right leg back and sent a kick sailing 55 yards through the uprights.

It might have been an audition for the first female National Football League player.

Lloyd, the 37-year-old star of the U.S. Women’s World Cup championsh­ip teams in 2015 and this summer, grew up an Eagles fan in New Jersey and spent her day off from Sky Blue of the National Women’s Soccer League at the Eagles’ joint practice with the Baltimore Ravens. After practice, she worked with Eagles kicker Jake Elliott and Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, and video quickly went viral, drawing serious speculatio­n about whether she could kick in the NFL.

“When we got in the car, it was unbelievab­le. The texts, the videos, everything going viral. I had no idea. It was insane. It still is insane,” she told Pro Football Talk’s Peter King. “I could not believe the attention on social media. I just had a conversati­on with Randy (Brown, a Ravens assistant special teams coach), actually. The coaches and his GM, they all saw the video. They were like, What is she doing next week? I’m laughing about it, but the more I think about it, this has the chance to be sort of a pioneering moment for women.”

The video captured the attention of Hall of Famer Gil Brandt. “Honestly, I don’t think it will be long before we see a woman break through this NFL barrier,” Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys’ vice president of player personnel from 1960 to 1988, tweeted.

Brandt wasn’t kidding, especially given what a dreadful season 2018 was for kickers. Mason Crosby of the Green Bay Packers missed five kicks in one game (four field goals and one extra point); Week 11 was a recordsett­ing day for missed extra-point attempts. And perhaps no team had a more ignominiou­s experience than the Chicago Bears, whose “double-doink” disaster occurred when Cody Parkey’s potential game-winner from 43 yards out was tipped at the line, then hit the left upright and the crossbar. The Bears lost that first-round playoff game to the Eagles, 16-15. “I’d give her an honest tryout,” Brandt added, “if I were, say, the Bears.”

Lloyd’s trainer told Fox Sports that an NFL team had called Monday, offering to let her kick in a pre-season game Thursday. Lloyd couldn’t make it work, though, because the national team plays Portugal that night, the last for pre-season NFL games before the regular season opens.

 ?? ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO ?? Ravens’ Sam Koch holds the ball for Carli Lloyd during a joint NFL practice in Philadelph­ia on Aug. 20.
ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO Ravens’ Sam Koch holds the ball for Carli Lloyd during a joint NFL practice in Philadelph­ia on Aug. 20.

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