Today, I was talking to an agent who’s had struggles satisfying a high-maintenance client during travels among teams. It reminded me of my own experience working with a high-maintenance client several years ago.

I had a friend in realty who was working with a Texans player living in Atlanta. She had set everything up so the player could come into town, hit several locations over two days, then fly back with minimal hassle. Of course, things rarely go as planned when you’re working with athletes used to having all their travel taken care of for them by their college and NFL teams.

My friend had worked hard to verify that they’d fly in early and we’d pick the young man up from the airport, then whisk him to several houses over two days, and put him back on a plane the following evening. Things got interesting when we got word from his financial planner who was with us in Houston that the player had missed his flight. That wasn’t entirely surprising. However, it was surprising when we showed up to pick him up and, though he insisted that he was in the pickup area, he was nowhere to be found. Oh, by the way, he wasn’t alone; turns out that, at his insistence, his financial planner had bought his ‘advisor,’ a street runner, a ticket as well.

So his realtor and I were at the airport planning to pick up one player, but it turns out, we were at the wrong airport (there are two in Houston) and needing to make room for two. OK. We’d roll with the punches. But it would take about 45 minutes to get to the other airport, which would mean the first half of the day was wiped out and the various house visits she’d planned would have to be completely altered.

The next 24 hours were like a comedy act. The next day, the realtor and I arrived to find his party had grown to a full processional, and his posse traveled in a convoy of vehicles behind us as we visited house after house. My friend and I went from realtor and host to caterer, entertainer, travel concierge and a handful of other duties associated with keeping several people happy.

It’s just a reminder that things rarely run exactly as planned, especially when you’re trying to keep a young man who’s rarely had to face the basic accountability that ‘regular people’ live with day to day. It’s something to prepare for as you consider a career in football.

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