In today’s Friday Wrap, we present the results of a survey of almost 40 former NFLPA-certified contract advisors. We wanted to find out if they still miss the game, if they felt they got a fair shot at success, what the biggest problems they faced were, and if they’d ever consider getting certified again.

If you don’t receive the Wrap, and want to read about what the numbers told us, make sure to register for it. It comes out at 7:30 p.m. ET every Friday.

One thing I found interesting is that many of those that I reached out to completed the survey, but still had plenty to say (one even remarked that he didn’t see any place for comments, then sent me a lengthy text on the business’ challenges). The passion remains for virtually everyone who gets a taste of the game, even if that taste turned out to be a bitter one.

The responses broke mostly into three groups.

  • What they learned: “The little guy will never wins against the big fish and marketing advances,” said one. “Couple that with training costs, good luck.” Another listed the three main factors that new agents face, going into detail how “capital,” “player contact and communication,” and “understanding the team side of the equation” are all determining factors. “No amount of letter writing, text, email, etc., can persuade a team to bring a guy in for a workout,” he said. “Every team knows the availability of free agents, and the teams call when they call. The players, unfortunately, have trouble understanding that the call may not come for weeks.” Another faulted the Players Association: “To me, the biggest problem is the NFLPA, because they have the power to cure many of the problems/hurdles agents face. But they just choose to stand by and watch.”
  • How and why they miss the game: “I miss the business everyday,” said one former agent. “Wouldn’t have left if it wasn’t for my now-wife threatening due to my travel.” Another said, “I miss the relationships of the business. I met a lot of good people.” Camaraderie is always cited by people who leave the game and miss it.
  • They haven’t lost the itch: “My wife actually encouraged me to return after watching me help my daughter get a basketball scholarship. I need to do something in the game — not sure what it is. I tried to get into personnel, but most guys felt like, because of my age, I’d be a hard sell.” Said another ex-advisor, “Still wish I was in the business sometimes, but apparently it just wasn’t meant to be.

I often say that no one walks out of the game. They only leave ‘on their shields,’ most often due to threat of divorce, litigation, bankruptcy or even all of the above. It’s something to remember for everyone who aspires to work with NFL players.