Jun. 14—RENTON — As a part of her duties working as an assistant running back coach for the Seahawks the previous couple of weeks, Amanda Ruller at times got to be on the sphere, essentially serving as a scout team player to assist with drills.
“It was like ‘Oh my goodness, I get to play football against the Seahawks,'” Ruller said Thursday. “Not a whole lot of people can say that.”
But when Ruller said she made sure to absorb those moments, what she didn’t do is query if she belonged.
Ruller was one among three coaches added to Seattle’s staff during OTAs (organized team activities) and mandatory minicamp during the last month as a part of the NFL’s Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship program. The opposite two are former NFL players Akeem Dent and Jonathan Saxon, currently the defensive coordinator at South Carolina State.
Ruller is the primary woman to work for the Seahawks as a part of this system.
But she hopes she’s not the last.
“I would like to be that driving force for more women to think, ‘I can do that. I could make a profession out of this,'” Ruller said.
Ruller, a native of Regina, Saskatchewan, developed an interest in football attending Saskatchewan Roughriders games together with her family.
Ruller said she remembered once asking her father why she didn’t see any women involved and her father responding that she shouldn’t let that deter her from pursuing a task in the sport.
“He said, ‘You’ll be able to do anything the boys can do,'” Ruller said.
So while Ruller also played soccer and developed right into a track star as a sprinter, a competitive Olympic weight lifter and even earned a task with the Canadian national team in bobsled and skeleton, football at all times remained at the highest of her mind.
She eventually tried out for Team Canada because it prepared for the 2017 Women’s World Championships.
She said she was initially cut, with coaches telling her she was fast enough but did not have ok hands to play running back.
But Ruller decided to not go down and not using a fight and kept showing as much as practices, anyway.
“Eventually that they had to place me in,” she said. “That they had to let me practice.” And he or she eventually earned a task on a team that earned a silver medal.
She also played running back in the US within the Legends Football League for five seasons as she continued to pursue any football job she could. She worked for some time because the in-game host for the Roughriders and other roles in media before landing a job on the University of Regina, her alma mater which she attended for a time alongside former Seahawks punter Jon Ryan, because the speed coach in 2018.
But her goals were loftier.
“That is my dream,” she said Thursday, “to be working throughout the NFL.”
She sent what she called “tons” of résumés to NFL teams through the years but didn’t get much response, saying, “I believe while you just submit a résumé, they do not get to see the sort of person you might be.”
So this 12 months she decided to pay her own method to attend the NFL mix in Indianapolis and make as many connections as she could.
One included meeting with a representative of the Seahawks who asked if she’d applied for the Walsh program, which was established in 1987 and is geared toward allowing minority coaches to get exposure within the NFL. It was named after Walsh after he began an identical program while head coach with the 49ers. Roughly 2,000 coaches have participated in this system.
Ruller had, which helped result in her official hiring by Seattle shortly after.
The 34-year-old has not only been helping with running backs during on-field drills but in addition helped plan some individual lessons for players and work some in the burden room — she holds Saskatchewan records within the snatch and the clean and jerk.
To return to the Seahawks Ruller had to offer up a spot with the Roughriders as a part of the CFL’s Women in Football training camp internship for the preseason, but she says it’ll be price it.
“I would like to develop my skills as a football coach,” she said. “I would like to be honest, I want more experience, and I would like you to evaluate me based on my ability and never who I’m or my gender. So I would like to go forward constructing those skills and hopefully get a chance to teach inside an NFL organization.”
While the Seahawks’ offseason program ends with its final OTA on Wednesday, Ruller’s job won’t as she’s going to come back for training camp in addition to working at a few preseason games.
“I’m so excited to see what a gameday experience looks like and get that developmental side for myself as a coach,” Ruller said.
After that she’s unsure what’s going to occur, though she’s hoping it could result in staying with the Seahawks or latching on with one other team.
She’s going to spend the roughly six-week break the NFL now has before camp begins in late July working with an under-18 women’s tackle football team in Canada for Team Ontario.
But her time with Seahawks, she said, is something “I’ll treasure that perpetually regardless of what happens.”
Ruller said coach Pete Carroll told her when she arrived to simply be herself — a philosophy Carroll has often cited as a key to his own profession.
Ruller said Carroll in addition to every other coach and player on the team has welcomed her presence with enthusiasm.
“Learning from Pete Carroll has been amazing,” she said. “He’s an amazing mentor for me and that is exactly what I want to go forward to be the most effective coach that I will be. He made me feel welcome. As soon as I walked into the constructing he said, ‘How can I make you excellent going forward?’ I’ve never been asked that before. So I believe that focus to detail and trust to assist me to assist him be a greater coach is something I’ve never come across and I thank him a lot for doing that.”
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