METAIRIE, La. (AP/CBS) — A woman who could become the NFL’s first female official is training at New Orleans Saints training camp this week.
Sarah Thomas, who lives near Jackson, Miss., is a former college basketball player who started officiating high school games at age 23 and says she never dreamed then that she could become a candidate to officiate NFL games.
“I don’t feel a weight on my shoulders. It’s exciting,” Thomas told FOX Sports Southwest. “I didn’t set out to be the first or a pioneer, but I will embrace it, if that does happen.”
“I really don’t feel like I get harsher treatment of any sort,” Thomas said. “The coaches and the players, it’s their job. The players want to win, it’s competitive, the heat of the moment, spirit of the game. If I make a call or I miss a call, they express it and the coaches express it and we’re on to the next play.”
Now 40-years old and with three children, she has been officiating college football in Conference USA since 2007, is a member of the NFL’s Officiating Development Program and a finalist to become a permanent NFL official. She arrived at Saints camp Thursday and will train there Friday and during Saturday’s scrimmage.
She has trained at Saints camp in previous years, and Saints coach Sean Payton says she does “a great job.”