Sowers competed in football professionally and for the U.S. national team, excelling at a variety of positions before a hip issue ended her playing career last year. A Kansas native, she went on to become general manager of the Kansas City Titans in the Women’s Football Alliance, where her twin sister, Liz, is a standout receiver.
A 2016 internship with the Atlanta Falcons brought her into contact with Kyle Shanahan, then the team’s offensive coordinator and now head coach of the 49ers. Shanahan was impressed enough to bring her aboard as an intern with his new organization, and then to give her a full-time position, a move met with approval by San Francisco wide receiver Jeremy Kerley.
Ballard has said he “will not be timid about moving around in the draft,” and could trade the No. 15 overall selection in an effort to stockpile more picks in this year’s draft. However, based on expected value over the next five years, the No. 15 pick is worth about 29 AV, which would require getting back two second-round picks for fair value.
Sowers, 31, was retained by the 49ers as an assistant wide receivers coach after she served as an intern for several months as part of the Bill Walsh NFL Coaching Diversity Fellowship. She told Outsports that her goal was “to be a head coach in the NFL or college,” adding, “I love leading people and I have a passion for this game.”
The hiring of Sowers followed a trail blazed by Kathryn Smith, who coached full-time for the Bills last season, and Jen Welter, who became the first female positional coach in the NFL as a 2015 intern with the Cardinals. “It’s groundbreaking and all that stuff, but the more normalized it is, the better it is,” Sowers told the San Jose Mercury News last week. “As a female, the more someone can ask me what I do and I say, ‘I coach football,’ the less shock on their faces will mean the better direction we’re moving.”
A troubled NFL season marked by controversy has taken a turn for the worse as, over the past month, an element of viciousness has crept into what was already a violent game and superseded the great play that brought people to it in the first place.