This week, we wrapped up July with our second ITL Agent Week. Our star-studded lineup included one of the most powerful agents in the business (Lagardere Sports’ Joel Segal), a former NFL cap chief (ex-Browns and Chiefs exec Trip MacCracken), an ex-GM (Mark Dominik, formerly of the Bucs) and a former pro scouting director (Dane Van der Nat, previously with the Raiders).
The week was very well-received. “All were awesome and provided info that you typically have to learn by trial and error,” said one participant. Said another: “The week has been amazing . . . and I’m looking forward to future seminars!!”
At the risk of being immodest, I’d agree, but it has nothing to do with me. It’s exciting that, this month, I’ve been able to bring together friends who are interested in giving back to the industry for a very small fee, and to find ITL clients who were willing to come out of pocket to listen to and interact with experts in the field. Kudos to everyone involved.
Here’s a bit of what you heard if you were on the Zoom sessions this week.
Van der Nat on developing players from other sports: “Coaches can be short on patience. If you’re getting (these players) early in the offseason, you could have an opportunity. We would bring those guys in for a tryout, maybe a CFL guy or a basketball player. . . . Can this big WR play TE? Can the tackle play tight end? Can the basketball player play tight end? Those are great situations to see. Can he learn it? Is he speaking the same language? After two days, a coach will have an opinion on a player to know if he wants to keep him or move on.”
Dominik on player attrition this year: “I think corner depth is hard to get. You can find three to four cornerbacks, but especially this year, there’s gonna be a lot of soft tissue injuries that usually hit corners hard, and if you have corners that can run a little bit, that’s a spot where teams will get hit quick.”
MacCracken on the value of relationships: “It was my job to take interest, to the best of my ability in whoever I’m working with. There’s no such thing as an agent you can disregard. . . Every person has a different personality. It’s almost like you have to bend your personality to fit theirs. . . And as an agent, you will deal with coaches, scouts, GMs, owners, negotiators, and they all come at this from a different skillset and standpoint. And you have to connect with all of them. You have to be able to touch each of them individually and make a connection. I always felt it was incumbent on me to make the best contact with agents. I would encourage agents to do the same with their contacts.”
Segal on getting started: “I went to law school at George Washington with the idea of being a product liability lawyer. Back then, being a sports agent was very different from what it is today. I didn’t know what an agent was. So I went to law school and got a good job at a great law firm, but it was kinda boring. So after a year, I quit and moved into my mom’s house. While I decided what to do, I parked cars for a while, made some money, and then printed up some business cards. One day, I read an article on Bob Woolf, an agent at the time, and it sounded cool, and that was it. I started cold-calling around, and I got hung up on a million times. Finally, I met Brad Baxter, because he was training next to my law school, and we hung out, and when he graduated, he signed with me. He was an 11th round choice out of Alabama State.