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Strong self-belief and support from her circle propel Jennifer King to new levels of success

Jennifer King during Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jennifer King during Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jennifer King is busy with a lot of work when she sits down in her office in Ashburn, Virginia. There's always film to be reviewed and game plans to be analyzed. All those tasks though don't stop her from welcoming the spontaneous appearances of Washington's J.D. McKissic.

"J.D. and I have a really fun relationship," King said with a laugh in an interview with senior vice president of media and content Julie Donaldson. "He's always coming by the office or just saying funny things."

That sort of rapport goes beyond jokes and banter. It's built on a sense of appreciation and respect that Washington players have for their football-savvy coach, this woman on a mission to help make them better at their job. Recently, King was recognized for her coaching talent on a national scale by being named as the running backs coach for the West team in the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl. It's a glass-ceiling shattering moment for women in the NFL. Zooming in though, the nod is an important career milestone for King, a coach fully focused on a path of becoming the best she can possibly be.

King's fierce pursuit of coaching excellence is grounded in a deeply rooted belief in herself.

"I'm confident in my abilities and the journey that I'm on is my own," King said.

King's self-confidence has had to be sturdy; it's important in her line of work. However, unlike most of her male colleagues in the NFL, she has also had to deal with some extra outside noise.

"The people that matter are supportive -- the people who are in the building, my family and friends," King said. "Obviously, social media is social media. People are going to say what they want. It gives them a platform to say things they'd never say in person. But, it doesn't matter to me. Coach [Ron Rivera] always talk about the important things and that's not important."

The most important thing -- the thing that is clear to anybody who has had the pleasure of working with her knows -- is that King is a great coach. Just one piece of evidence backing up that point is Antonio Gibson's production this. Gibson, a player King works very closely with, finished the season leading the NFC East with 1,037 rushing yards.

"Antonio being able to get a 1,000 yards this year was huge, obviously for him but for us as well. I'm so proud of him," King said.

Numbers like those don't tell the entire story of King's work though. A new Peacock original series called "Earnin' It: The NFL's Forward Progress" aims to go behind-the-scenes of King's everyday grind as well as the other women who work in the league.

"There's examples of women doing great things in football that people can now see on TV at different levels, from playing to coach to working in the front office," King said.

Many of the women featured in the new series have formed a special bond as a group of trailblazers navigating circumstances of which on they really know the nuances.

"It's a great support system that we have and I feel like I can reach out to any of them if I need them or if they need me." King said.

And while major TV show appearances and bowl game honors are impressive, those things aren't the huge motivators for King. Day in and day out, when she's out on the sidelines or studying in her office, King concentrates on just doing everything she can do to elevate her skills.

"The biggest thing for me is just to continue to grow to be the best coach that I can be," King said. "That's the best representation I can have and I can provide for anyone looking is to be successful. So, that's something I try to do everyday."

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