Whether she truly was fighting through an injury that hampered her performance or not, Lauren Silberman’s showing at the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday will be remembered for only one reason: she is a woman. Aside from the fact that she was the first ever female athlete to compete at the Combine, Silberman’s performance was very forgettable.
As you can see in this video of one of her kick attempts, it looked like Silberman had little-to-no kicking experience prior to her tryout. She claims she was battling a painful quadriceps injury that resulted in the ball traveling a mere 13 yards. That didn’t stop former Division-1 kicker Katie Hnida, who was the first ever woman to record a point in a Division-1 football game, from unloading on her.
“Her performance does not have to do with her gender,” Hnida told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. “It has to do with her experience and her preparation. Unfortunately, what’s going to happen now is she’s going to be looked at (as inferior) because she was female. But she was terrible.”
Hnida used to kick at Colorado and New Mexico and is currently battling back after a blood clot has forced her to miss time in the Arena League. She saw the video of Silberman’s kick and had little to say about it, but it was obvious that Hnida was frustrated by it.
“I saw the video,” Hnida reportedly said with a sigh. “I saw the video.”
Even if Silberman was in pain, she had an incredibly unorthodox approach. She did not warm up before kicking and took about 20 seconds to figure out how to put the ball on the tee. She also lined up about six yards behind it before attempting the kick, rather than 10 or more which is usually the standard.
“It is disappointing,” Hnida said. “I hoped she would go out and do justice for an NFL tryout, because there are lots of people who have dreamed of going to the NFL. It should be something serious.”
If the NFL was seeking publicity, mission accomplished. And if Silberman truly is a good kicker and she was hurting so badly that she couldn’t kick a ball more than 15 yards off a tee, that’s some awful, awful luck.