This morning, I got a text from an agent who’s been a client and a friend for a long time. He told me one of the FXFL teams is in complete disarray, and that the players had gone on strike. Meanwhile, the coach had walked out (mid-practice, I was told) and the players hadn’t been paid since the season started two weeks ago. According to my source, their laundry wasn’t getting done and they didn’t even have water at their workouts!
In my efforts to confirm the strike (I’m still working on it), I reached out to another agent who’s been hardened to the roller-coaster world of minor-league football. Though he’s got two clients in the FXFL, he’s all too aware of the pitfalls of playing in these leagues. “It’s crazy,” he texted me. “The value is the film, but (the league) can’t keep screwing the players.”
This morning’s texts came on the heels of another communication I got last night from the father of a player who narrowly missed a camp invite this spring. His son, a very good college player who still has NFL dreams, had just been told that his school would not allow its seniors from ’15 to attend its 2016 pro day, a big change from previous seasons. It left my friend’s son with limited options and no way to jump-start his pro football career. I had to tell him his son’s only remaining options were probably paid tryouts (costs are usually around $100) with Arena and CFL teams. It wasn’t easy to tell him that.
So here’s the takeaway. This week, as I mentioned in Monday’s report, more than a hundred agents from the 2015 class were added to the NFLPA’s rolls. Many of those agents will soon start getting phone calls and/or emails from desperate players from recent draft classes, hoping to get one more chance at film. They’re mostly willing to go to the AFL, or the CFL, or to virtually any league that might get them fresh film, which in turn might get them another look with the NFL.
In November, these new agents will hear from dozens of players slated for the ’16 draft class that aren’t getting recruited by agents, but still want to play in the NFL. If (when?) the ’16 draft comes and goes with no calls from the league, they’ll be looking for fresh film, too.
If you’re among those in the new agent class, understand that only a select few players are NFL-worthy, but thousands believe they are. Be very careful about believing a player’s story when he tells you he’d be a top prospect if not for a bit of bad luck. The road to finding new film is a long and winding one, and it usually leads only to a dead end.