FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Lauren Silberman’s NFL tryout lasted all of two kicks, neither of which traveled 20 yards.
Silberman became the first woman to compete at an NFL regional scouting combine on Sunday, but left the New York Jets’ practice field after re-injuring her quadriceps. She tried two kickoffs, the first going 19 yards and the second about 13 yards, and then asked to see a trainer.
As more than two dozen media, including E! Entertainment network, watched her every move, the 28-year-old Silberman was examined off to the side of the practice field. About 30 minutes later, while 36 other kickers continued their workouts, she called the scene “surreal” and thanked the NFL for “this tremendous opportunity.”
A former club soccer player at Wisconsin, Silberman took no warmup kicks until she attempted her first kickoff and even appeared to have some trouble keeping the football on the kicking tee.
“I’ve always been an athlete, and I’ve always been a gamer,” she said while fighting back tears. “When I had the opportunity to be in the NFL, one of the world’s most competitive leagues, I absolutely had to take the chance.”
Silberman said she suffered a quadriceps injury while preparing for the tryout earlier in the week, and attributed her struggles to that.
“I tried staying off it and waited for today,” she said. “I didn’t even take kicks in warmups, and, it’s pretty hard to know that you’ll be in pain and I wanted to work through it and I certainly tried to, but I just couldn’t do it today.”
Silberman, who spoke to the media for 3 minutes after the tryout, insisted she can “do more” and “it’s too bad that this happened.” She also said she “did the right thing” and anticipates trying to kick again in the future.
Silberman appeared to be favoring her right leg when she left the complex soon after that.
“I would certainly be very, very excited and happy if I had the opportunity to try again,” she said, “but it’s not up to me. It’s up to the scouts.”
The regional combines debuted in 2011, and include players who weren’t among the 333 invited to the main combine in Indianapolis. The NFL is holding these sessions in 10 cities this offseason, with the most impressive players advancing to a super-regional in April in Dallas.