Today, I wanted to share a story that will be included in our newsletter for people taking the 2016 NFLPA agent exam. I passed it along because our newsletter series, which usually includes bracing honesty about the business, needed a little bit of light and encouragement. And it’s true, of course.

Thomas Sherzan got certified in 2014. Based in West Des Moines, Iowa, he doesn’t live in a football hotbed and he didn’t come into this game with stacks of contacts in the college and pro game. He came into the game like a lot of people – he has a passion for football and for helping people, and he felt he could do some good and maybe make a little money. These aren’t Thomas’ words, but having known him for two years, I think it’s a fair summation of who he is and what his goals are. My impression is that he recruited using our Profile Reports and reached out to scouts using our email template, but couldn’t get traction. That’s got a lot to do with where he’s located. There are just fewer opportunities for agents with fewer schools.

Then, on Feb. 9, I got an email from Givens Price, a defensive tackle that recently finished up at Nebraska. I get emails from draft hopefuls all the time. They hear from a buddy about our newsletter series on the draft process, or they may find us on Google, or they get referred from a teammate we’ve worked with, or whatever, and they send an email, asking for help in finding an agent. In this case, I usually locate whichever agent I work with that’s closest to the player and just forward the email along. I rarely give it any more thought than that. So I sent Givens to Thomas with the warning that there were no obligations and that he didn’t even have to acknowledge the young man, but Thomas did that, and Givens subsequently signed.

I really don’t know any more details than that. I didn’t really hear from Thomas on Givens (wasn’t even sure he signed with him) until Saturday night, when Thomas messaged me. “Neil, thanks for the Givens Price referral,” he texted. “He signed with me and tonight he signed as an UDFA with the Cardinals.” I was so stunned that I had to confirm that he was on contract, not a tryout (he assured me that he was). Keep in mind that, for the past 24 hours, my team of five former NFL scouts, from the dozen or so my subscribers regularly work with, had been coaching 15 agents on how to get their players onto a roster. It came as a complete shock, but it was also a feeling of euphoria. Getting to share the experience of getting a player on a 90-man roster with one of my clients is part of what makes my job a lot of fun.

Now, you may be thinking, who cares? The kid signed with an NFL team as a UDFA. They’re not even bringing him in as a DT (he’s going to be tried at tackle). So what?

Well, I pass this story along because succeeding in this business is a lot harder than it looks, and more expensive, too. The point is, it can happen for you, if you want to make a run at this business. All you have to do is know how to do it. We’re here to help you with that.