The Buffalo Bills have gone overseas to find one of their Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowship participants for 2017.
Phoebe Schecter, who participated in the inaugural NFL Women's Careers in Football Forum earlier this year, is one of four coaching interns who will work training camp for the team. Schecter is currently the men's and women's football coach for the Straffordshire Surge in England. She is also a player for the Straffordshire men's team and the women's Great Britain National Tackle Football team.
According to Alex Marvez of Sporting News, Schecter met Bills co-owner Kim Pegula at the women's career forum. Pegula was so impressed with Schecter, according to Marvez, that she recommended her to Bills coach Sean McDermott.
A native of Ridgefield, Conn., Schecter will work with the defense, Marvez reported. She played linebacker for the Birmingham Lions of the British American Football League after moving to England in 2012.
Last year, the Bills made history by hiring Kathryn Smith as the NFL's first full-time assistant coach. She worked as a special teams quality control coach under Rex Ryan. Schecter will become one of just four female coaches with any type of NFL experience, joining Jen Welter, who interned with Arizona in 2015, and Collette Smith, who will intern this summer with the New York Jets.
The other interns hired by the Bills for this season include:
• Kade Rannings, who has worked for the Cleveland Browns, University of Montana and Colgate University in recent years.
• Lonnie Weasley, the current run-game coordinator/offensive line coach at the University of New Haven.
• Byron Thomas, the current defensive coordinator/recruiting director at Alfred State.
Designed to expose talented minority coaches to the NFL, the Walsh coaching fellowship started in 1987 when the former San Francisco 49ers' coach brought a group to his team's camp. Eventually, every NFL team has become a participant in the program, with the Bills joining in 1989. Four current Bills coaches have participated in the program, including Juan Castillo (with the Bills in 1992), Andrew Dees (with the Bills in 2000), Jim Salgado and Kelly Skipper.