ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — With Buffalo Bills special teams coordinator Danny Crossman barking orders at the kickoff return players at one end of the practice field, Kathryn Smith stands at midfield overseeing the coverage unit.
Once the players are lined up in their proper positions on each side of her, Smith simulates the ball being kicked off by raising her right arm and yelling, “Go!”
It’s a common sight that takes place countless times on NFL practice fields throughout the year, with one key exception: Smith.
She is the Bills special teams quality control coach, who five months ago broke the gender barrier by becoming the league’s first full-time female assistant.
“It has started to sink in a bit,” Smith said after practice Wednesday in her first session with reporters since being promoted to coach Rex Ryan’s staff on Jan. 20. “I recognize the honor in it. But I’m just trying to help the team and be the best coach I can be. So that’s really what I’m focused on.”
Smith is, perhaps, the NFL’s most recognized quality control assistant, which was further evidenced Wednesday when she spoke in front of a bank of…