This time of year is fun for me because it’s when we celebrate our successes at Inside the League.

With OTAs under way and rookie mini-camps in the rear-view mirror, there’s no more mystery about who’s going to be drafted and which players will line up an NFL contract despite not being selected. So many agents dream of having first-rounders in their inaugural year certified, but this is incredibly unrealistic. A far greater measure of success is simply having a player in the league in your first three years registered with the NFLPA. In fact, if you don’t have someone certified in that time, you have to start over, taking the exam again and paying the initiation fee.

For the last 3-4 years, we’ve spent June interviewing the agents we partner with who’ve had such success. It’s a lot of fun celebrating this accomplishment while learning a little more about their experiences in their first year, as well as how they wound up becoming contract advisors. Every year, only 15-20 independent agents — i.e., agents who came into the business with no connections, no hookups and no relatives slated to be first-rounders in the coming year — actually land a player on an NFL roster, and 70-80 percent of those agents are part of our team, I’m proud to say. That’s why it takes all month to interview them, and why we publish our interviews to the people taking the exam this summer in a daily newsletter.

This year, I turned the job of interviewing ITL clients over to my ace intern, Mark Skol. So even though I’m not doing the interviews myself, it’s still awfully informative to read each account.

One of them, Maryland-based Jon Howard, got interested in the business when he tried (unsuccessfully) to get his brother into the league.

Another interesting thing: opinions on the NFLPA exam really vary. Some of them feel the test was pretty easy (like Mississippi attorney Jay Bolin, whose interview is tomorrow). Some of them, like South Florida-based CPA and attorney Bob Engler, feel it’s quite hard. Others, like Baltimore-based attorney Gary Leibowitz, feel it should be a bit more practical and based on actual agent practices, rather than simply about the CBA. Most, but not all, used our practice agent exam (the only one on the Web) to get ready.

Of course, some of the things they’ve said weren’t exactly shocking. All of them are passionate about football and wanted to find some way to become involved in the game, and saw the agent avenue as easiest. One of them is my former intern, Murphy McGuire, whom you’ve already read about in these pages.

If you’re getting ready to take the exam this summer, I hope you’ll join us. One of the things you’ll get is access to our newsletter. I want you to be one of the people whom we write about next summer.

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