For today’s War Story Wednesday, I thought I’d keep to the theme of player-agent relationships and the ups and downs of building a kinship with a young man that is ultimately futile. Spoiler alert: this is a two-parter, so you’ll have to come back tomorrow for the conclusion.
At any rate, on with the story.
I gained a client in the winter of 2011, a recently certified NFLPA contract advisor, and right away I could tell he was more devoted than most. Intense and focused, he oozed desire, and I came to expect frequent phone calls from him as he had questions on a number of topics. He was, and is, devoted to information and leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of improving his performance as a player rep; I’ve even recommended him to a big agency seeking prospects for adding to its team. In the course of working with him we became pretty good friends.
As I recall we spoke pretty frequently the summer of 2011, then less frequently through the fall, which is not uncommon. Most of my clients prefer to be pretty close to the vest when it comes to their recruiting targets. However, at some point, he let it be known he had one client he felt pretty secure in signing, a running back at a major Northeastern FBS school. I shared his excitement, though I cautioned him that, until the young man’s bowl game was played and there was a signed SRA, he need be careful about counting his proverbial chickens. Still, it was a big potential ‘get’ for him, a skills-position player from a storied program. This was not a player who was a lock to be drafted, but he had great raw tools, including a sizzling 40 time, despite some off-the-field questions that would have to be dealt with in due time.
It was around November that my friend asked me about someone who’d become a regular presence on the rusher’s Twitter page. I had no idea who this person was and I told him so. The new person was not certified with the NFLPA as either a financial planner or agent, and had the look of a ‘street runner,’ or a person who attaches himself to a prospect, then brokers him to an agency for a fee. This set off some alarms with my friend but he was still confident in his chances.
All the details are foggy almost three years later, but as I recall, the running back returned from his last game on a Friday night. It was at this time that the person my friend had alerted me about, the possible street runner, was announcing on Twitter that he had signed the prospect. They were even on a local radio show together that Friday, touting the player’s draft chances and celebrating his college career.
My friend was beside himself with panic and worry at this point. He had spent months building a close friendship with the player and had even lobbied to get him a coveted spot in a postseason all-star game, a frequent practice by agents during the recruiting process but one that comes with no strings attached. The events of that Friday night set off a 24-hour period that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
Details and the conclusion of the story on Thursday.