FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Todd Bowles insisted gender had nothing to do with it.
His decision to hire Collette Smith — the first female coach in franchise history — was solely based on her football IQ and passion for the game, he said.
“Just talking to her over the course of times, her football knowledge is outstanding,” Bowles said Saturday following the Jets’ first training camp practice. “It’s all male interns so far, and I thought it would be a good idea to bring in a female intern, strictly off her skill set, not because she’s female. She’s a hell of a football coach. And we got to talking a lot and she fits in with the guys, so we gave her a chance.
Asked if he had any reservations about hiring a female coach, Bowles said: “None.”
Smith, a 44-year-old Queens native and Jets fan, will spend the summer working with the secondary and shadowing defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson.
Smith played three seasons with the New York Sharks of the Independent Women’s Football League before her career was cut short by a knee injury.
She joins Jen Welter and Kathryn Smith in the ranks of female NFL coaches. Welter spent the summer of 2015 with Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals and Smith served as the quality-control coach for Buffalo in 2016 under former Jets and Bills coach Rex Ryan.
Rookie WR ArDarius Stewart (groin and thumb surgeries) only participated in individual drills. Fellow rookie Chad Hansen (knee) also was limited, as was offensive tackle Ben Ijalana (knee scope).