NFL reporter Jane Slater has spent most of her career trying to prove that she’s far more than just a “pretty girl.”
And the NFL Network star showed off her skills by hitting a practice dummy with a brutal tackle during some practice sessions with the Dallas Cowboys.
“Oh, I think I got a concussion,” Slater said jokingly afterwards.
“You’re good, Jane, you’re good,” replied NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger.
“That’s good, that’s how you attack it.”
Slater has established herself as a rising star on the NFL Network since joining the network in 2016.
The Dallas-based reporter appears on multiple programs including NFL Now, NFL Total Access and NFL GameDay Morning.
But it’s been a long road for Slater to get to this point, having earned her degree in journalism and government from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003.
Slater sent 50 VHS copies of her newsreels to newsrooms across the United States hoping to get her first gig, but was turned down multiple times.
To get into the radio industry, she took a job in sales at NewsRadio 1080 KRLD in Dallas.
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She soon landed a job on a local show in Texas, but she covered the weather and traffic rather than sports, which was her passion.
“I was miserable. I was a 30-year-old anchor working without benefits and living with my parents. Slater told D magazine.
Slater thought she got her big break with a role on ESPN’s Longhorn Network in 2014, but two years later she was unemployed and considering quitting journalism.
“I was a 36-year-old broke woman with a lot of credit card debt,” she says.
“And I was looking for jobs in medical sales or real estate. I thought I had gotten as far as I could in journalism.”
In a last-ditch effort to salvage her career, Slater submitted an audition video to the NFL Network in 2016 for an on-air reporter job for the Cowboys.
It paid off, as Slater has emerged as the leading voice among the Cowboys in recent years.
However, she had to prove again and again that she didn’t get the role because of her good looks.
“The perception around me was, ‘Oh, she’s just a pretty girl rehearsing and gathering information,'” she said.
“And the idea of being a pretty girl can become a threat when I’m trying to do my job.
“When a coach, executive or player comes with me, the first thought at an NFL combine or the Super Bowl is, ‘Oh, there must be something going on.'”
But in 2018, Slater finally put her journalism skills to the test with an exclusive interview with Dez Bryant after the star-wide receiver was fired by the Cowboys.
“It’s still difficult for me to have lunch or dinner with GMs or other people in this market,” she says.
“But now I don’t think they see me as the pretty girl anymore.”