I hope you’ll be tuning in tonight at 10E/9C for Episode 4 of ‘The Agent’ on the Esquire Network. I know everyone in the business that I’ve spoken to in the business will be catching it, or at least the replay afterwards. Here are three things to focus on as you watch.
- Ed Wasielewski spends a lot of time trying to convince an unsigned NFL veteran to think of himself as a fullback, rather than a tight end. Ed has to cajole, plead, beg and persuade the player (and his fiance’!) to consider a position switch because it’s the only way he’s getting another NFL tryout. Probably 10-12 minutes of the show is spent with Ed on the phone with him, taking him to dinner, or otherwise communicating his need to accept his new fate. It’s incredible for a person outside the game to see this, but players get stuck, mentally, and forget that they are perhaps not as special and deserving of special treatment as they think they are. It usually takes a player 2-3 years outside the game to see how unique it is to be a pro football player.
- Peter Schaffer brings in Mike Murphy, a former Dolphins scout, to provide interview training for his clients. They cover a number of things, but I thought the most striking part of the show is when Murphy is asking tough, direct questions to the players. While agents (like Ed with his client) have to be very schmoozy when trying to persuade their clients, NFL types don’t have to kiss up to them at all. This is something else players don’t easily accept. As an agent, you have to prepare them for this paradigm shift. It’s not always an easy transition, which is one reason Peter does this. Interview training has become a pretty standard part of combine prep, and this is one reason why.
- The trainer featured in tonight’s show is Orlando-based Tom Shaw of Tom Shaw Sports. Tom has worked with hundreds of first-round picks and has decades in the game. But the funny thing is, almost every time you see him tonight, he has on Patriots gear (he works with the Pats during training camp every year). I work with people who are trying to break into the game all the time, and they may want to offer combine prep, or interview training, or any number of other services. But if they don’t have some kind of league background or at least a peripheral tie to the NFL, I always let them know they have an uphill battle ahead. There’s no substitute for the NFL brand when it comes to draft prospects seeking credibility from their trainers, handlers, advisors, etc.