As we continue to celebrate Women's History Month on DenverBroncos.com, so too is the NFL.
In a recently aired feature, NFL Network put the spotlight on Broncos Assistant Player Performance Coach Emily Zaler, who became the franchise's first female full-time coach in 2020.
Even from an early age, her mother recalled, Zaler was "very determined in whatever she was doing" and "had a love for sports and a natural ability."
That guided her to her eventual career, as she played soccer at the University of Oregon and learned to love being in the weight room.
"As an incoming freshman, I was required by our coaching staff to go into the weight room for extra lifts and was told I had to hit certain numbers before I would ever be able to play at a high level," Zaler said. "My time in the weight room was a sense of empowerment. To see myself getting stronger week over week, that's really where I discovered that this is what I want to do."
Zaler told NFL Network that she worked to make her entry into the NFL through the NFL's Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship. In her video submission, with a decoration behind her that read "Chase that dream," she spoke of a desire to "help lead the way for other women within this field" who could follow in her footsteps.
Broncos Strength and Conditioning Coach Loren Landow, representing the team Zaler said was her top choice, reached out to offer her a role for training camp. Little did she know that the position wouldn't just be a seasonal one.
"It was supposed to be my last practice, and Coach Landow pulled me into the office and said, 'We're going to hire you on full-time.' And I was shocked," Zaler said. "Being the first full-time female coach within the Denver Broncos organization is truly unreal."
After her first NFL season, Zaler is aware of her trailblazing role in the organization and the NFL, as well as the effect she could have on others who hope to have similar opportunities.
"I do know that it's up to me [and] it's up to a handful of other women to lead the women for the women of the future," Zaler said.
Below the Fold
After releasing Jurrell Casey and with Shelby Harris approaching free agency, the Broncos are facing some big decisions on how they'll shape their defensive line. But one talented young player that could fill a significant role on the line is Dre'Mont Jones, who is entering his third season. "While questions litter the Broncos' defensive line, Dre'Mont Jones is not one of them," Troy Renck writes for The Denver Channel. "He emerged as a promising standout last season, registering 6.5 sacks in 13 games."