This week, we’ve been talking to New York City-based Eugene T. Lee of MBK Sports, a veteran NFLPA contract advisor who’s been in the league since 1997. Eugene recently wrote a book about his experiences in the business, My Brother’s Keeper: Above and Beyond “The Dotted Line” with the NFL’s Most Ethical Agent. Today we’ve got the second half of our interview with Eugene. For the first half, click here, and for a war story from my history with Eugene, click here.
What was Brian Warner, AKA Marilyn Manson, like in high school?
“He was older than me. When he was a senior I was in eight grade, but one of my best friends from high school, his older brother was friends with him, and he said (Warner) would wear the polo shirts with the collars turned up and the denim jacket. He was kind of a preppy burnout.” (laughs)
Many agents, like you, recruit their alma mater heavily. Why do you choose to do that?
“There’s a connection. A lot of times (while recruiting from other schools), it’s buyer beware, but when you have a connection with the school, you know the kind of player that will get in, the program philosophy and the type of young man that goes to Notre Dame, and that graduates. Ninety-nine percent of the time that’s the kind of man we like to represent, in terms of the values we carry.”
How has your appearance on the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary The Dotted Line affected recruiting?
“I thought going into it it would help a lot more than it has. At the end of the day, if you have this huge client list of retired guys, it doesn’t really help you. You have to stand on your own two feet. It piques (potential clients’) interest but you gotta come with something behind it. Maybe going in I thought it would have much more of a compelling effect, but at the end of the day you really have to recruit a player based on what you can offer him, as far as services and experience, and I would have it no other way. If they signed with me just (because I was on The Dotted Line), I’d have questions about him.”
The book title claims that you are the game’s “Most Ethical Agent.” Interesting title. How did you decide on it?
“Well, I came up with the name, “My Brother’s Keeper,” and I loved that reference. It’s a biblical reference, and speaks about my faith, and being a Christian, and the mentality that I have when I represent a young man. “Above and Beyond The Dotted Line” and “By the NFL’s Most Ethical Agent” came form my publisher. They said, ‘it has to be superlative,’ and I said, ‘I know I’m ethical, but I don’t want to brag,’ and they said, ‘just go with it.’” (chuckles)
You’re aggressive about getting film into the hands of scouts, whereas most agents see it as unnecessary in the modern cyber age. Do scouts really take your DVDs and watch them? How do you know?
“We haven’t done DVDs in a few years. We’ve gone digital. The NFL’s Dub Center (the league’s film bank) has the games, but the reason we do that is to make sure they watch the best film on our guys. . . If you have a small-school player, like a Brian Witherspoon, teams might not have all his games in the Dub Center, so it’s valuable especially for smaller-school players. Now we send out MP4 files and links via email.”