NFL Agent (my nephew) speaks well of his Michigan Player Clients

Submitted by StephenRKass on May 16th, 2017 at 10:10 AM

This last weekend, I attended a family social event in the south. One of my nephews is a lawyer and a certified NFL agent. With his partner, he represents and is retained by a number of recent Michigan grads, including some in the current 2017 draft, as well as undrafted free agents. We always jaw a bit:  he got his undergraduate degree from OSU, and played ball at a high level prior to injury.

Representing NFL athletes is only part of his practice. However, it takes a significant amount of time and energy. I learned a lot more about what it is to be an agent. Negotiation on contracts is something that takes relatively little time. A lot more goes into recruiting more clients, and into betting on and bankrolling and babysitting guys who are preparing for the draft. Someone has to help them with life skills and not flaming out and not blowing upfront everything they're supposedly going to make. Someone has to pay for all the costs associated with training, coaching, travel, living expenses, and the like, from January through the draft. An agent helps pay for all of that, with the return being a percentage of that player's contract, if they are fortunate enough to sign with a team. In a sense, an agent drafts a real life fantasy football team. How successful an agent is depends partially on how well he assesses whether or not someone will be successful in the League. 

In our discussion, he mentioned several things I found fascinating.

  • Michigan grads in general carry themselves very well. He greatly enjoys representing them, and they are among his better clients. He would say that every single Michigan player he personally serves as an agent is a great guy. (I would love to mention names, but don't feel comfortable doing that. Let's just say that some were starters who just graduated, and some have graduated in the last 2 - 3 years.)
  • This is in contrast to some athletes from OSU, who are a pain in the rear. From my nephew's perspective, there really is a Michigan difference.
  • From his perspective, Urban Meyer and Nick Saban are really just all about the winning, and less about caring for the student athlete. For them, football is just a business. Harbaugh, in contrast, cares about his players, and about having fun. Yes, Harbaugh wants to work hard and to win. But not at all costs. Athletes aren't just to be disposed of and cast off because they've been injured or passed up on the depth chart.
  • It isn't that Michigan won't ever beat OSU or 'Bama. It is just that Harbaugh is doing it a different way. He isn't so mercenary about it, and cavalier about the lives of Michigan athetes.
  • My nephew's theory on why Harbaugh is different (than Meyer or Saban) is that Harbaugh has already achieved a great amount of success financially and otherwise. That being the case, Harbaugh has more freedom to do exactly what he wants to do. Personally, I think it has to be more than that. After all, Meyer and Saban both have achieved a lot of success, and have plenty of money. Nonetheless, the Rome trip and some of the other things he does leads me to believe that Harbaugh really is different, and that he really does want to put "student" back in "student athlete."
  • Whatever the reason, the climate, while very competitive at Michigan, is much less about throwing people under the bus when they don't fit perfectly.
  • I have gotten the impression from my nephew that Michigan is a place with a lot of high character guys, with a high level of professionalism. And these guys really appreciate being students at Michigan. I get the sense that high character guys generally appreciate each other, whether they go to OSU or Michigan or Wisconsin or Stanford or an SEC school. I do get the sense that there are a few guys at Michigan who don't get it, but the number is not very high.
  • My nephew does not represent Peppers. However, he claims that at least one of his Michigan clients indicated Peppers was not capable of playing safety at the highest level. The move to viper/nickel/LB was necessitated in order to cover over Peppers' shortcomings. He also claimed that some Michigan athletes were put off by how Peppers carried himself and how he was part of the team. The suggestion was that Peppers didn't have as high a level of professionalism as he should. It is a moot point now. And I wouldn't know a thing myself. I don't hang around any current or former Michigan athletes. I can't prove or stand behind why my nephew said about Peppers (other than vouching for my nephew's own professionalism and character.) However, I think there is more to the Peppers story than most of us know or have heard about. And coaches and insiders and players are largely keeping that to themselves.
  • My nephew also has the opinion that it is reasonably unlikely one current prominent player sticks with the team (will tell you the individual in question is not a QB, and not Gary.) I can't say much more, but it helps me put some of the pieces together. From a distance, I think the coaching staff does what they can to help football players make good decisions. Unfortunately, some guys made bad decisions in High School, and maybe assume they can do the same thing in college. Sometimes, with a strong support system, they get their act together. Sometimes, unfortunately, they never can break free.

It was fascinating to have the curtain pulled back a bit. And it made me proud to know that a number of Michigan players represent themselves and Michigan so well.

Comments

StephenRKass

May 16th, 2017 at 10:33 AM ^

Thanks. It was indeed pretty cool for me, a casual fan, to talk to an insider who I have known for years. He actually was a teammate of Jake Ryan years ago, and told me that Jake was going to do a lot better and be a lot better than most people realized. (There was another of their teammates who was ranked higher than Ryan, and went to OSU, but flamed out. And my nephew predicted that too.)

I wondered how and to what degree to share information.  I realized that if it was enjoyable to me to hear some of this stuff, there probably would be a few readers who would find it interesting. I just had to keep it reasonably anonymous.

I did enough google searches on agents, and my nephew, and the Michigan players he represents, to see that none of that is in the public domain. Which is why I didn't share his name, or the names of Michigan players he represents. I will tell you that he is the agent for several Michigan guys, not just one. I will tell you that some were UFA who stuck, some were drafted, and some are in the process of trying to make it right now.

I was guessing that once you do a good job for one guy in the league, you probably get referred to other guys from that first guy's school.

Rickett88

May 16th, 2017 at 10:37 AM ^

This was some of the best content on here since UMBig11 showed up. 

Thats the problem with people online, they are just looking to flame anyone that doesnt' "give all their sources" because they think they deserve it. 

Thank you for your time. I live in FL now and don't get to AA as much as I would like anymore, so info like this, even if it is someones opinion (though it sounds like a damn good source), makes me feel like I am around the University again. 

corundum

May 16th, 2017 at 10:26 AM ^

The whole 'put some of the pieces together' part leads me to believe it's a player in the secondary since Harris' move to the defensive side went public yesterday. Hopefully I'm just over-analyzing the timing.

StephenRKass

May 16th, 2017 at 10:50 AM ^

(in response to corundrum, worrying whether one of the guys in the secondary would flame out . . . Hill or Long.)

Ok, I will tell you the guy in question is not in the secondary, and not on the OL. An area of relative depth that won't cripple the team at all. You might be able to guess from that, but you're going to have to guess. I'm not going to throw a current player under the bus.

I will say that I wonder how prevalent drug use is on Michigan's football team, and other football teams, and in High School, and in the pros. I'm not hopelessly naive. But in general, I don't think drug use helps performance on the field or in the classroom.

Blue_by_U

May 16th, 2017 at 10:59 AM ^

Football players (student athletes really) are athletes. They are prone to making bad decisions if the opportunity presents itself. ANYONE who thinks MICHIGAN is above board, 100% clean and clear of drugs, alcohol problems, and I don't mean having a beer on the weekend...I mean full blown alcoholism...clear of grade scandal, etc, is either extremely naieve or fooling themselves with maize colored lenses...Not saying the programs/athletes are downright criminal, saying they are human. Bo and every coach that has worked for UM has made things go away...minor, trivial, sensless, in some cases yes...but it happens. To what level may be that Michigan difference. I GUARANTEE there are financail boosters who have/may still? provide incentives to players and I am not just talking Ed Martin (still personally feel Martin was in it for himself and ANY kid from Detroit not just for UM) 

anyways, it's always interesting to see it, live it, and realize it is at times worse than you could imagine.

StephenRKass

May 16th, 2017 at 11:25 AM ^

I'm not going to narrow it down more. I just think that if the kid doesn't make it, the team will be ok. And you know, sometimes kids really do have the lightbulb go on, and manage to get their lives straight. That really would be the best scenario, imhe.

Yeah, weed. I had enough challenges with classes at Michigan that I can't really think it helps with the academic load, or reaction times on the field. I'm sure a number of guys do it though.

M Ascending

May 16th, 2017 at 12:15 PM ^

I remember back in the day going to a house party on campus and literally chain-smoking doobies with Paul Seymour. Great player. Spitting image of Jeff Bridges. And, man, could that boy toke up. Back then, nobody give two shits if you puffed. The Den of the Mellow Men constantly reeked of weed.

pescadero

May 16th, 2017 at 1:12 PM ^

"Yeah, weed. I had enough challenges with classes at Michigan that I can't really think it helps with the academic load, or reaction times on the field. I'm sure a number of guys do it though."

 

If I had to guess - definitely over 1/3 and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the number were over 50%.

 

It won't help with reaction time on the field - but according to a good number of NFL players, it can help with avoiding heavier painkillers which help even less.

ska4punkkid

May 16th, 2017 at 1:35 PM ^

Kareem has not been excluded with the positions listed. Also, I think Kareem is "prominent" because of his high recruiting ranking and expectations.

Throw in the fact that he didn't play at all last year to get his "academic house in order" per say. 

Seth

May 18th, 2017 at 2:34 PM ^

How marijuana is treated varies from program to program, but in general even if Michigan is relatively hard on it in the college football world, they treat it more like drinking--don't do it in excess, don't let it affect your performance. Ohio State is relatively light on it and it hasn't damaged them. The NFL has harsh rules but the NFL culture is much closer to that of Ohio State.

Other drugs are a different category but I don't know of anybody on the team whom that would apply to.

Magnus

May 16th, 2017 at 10:28 AM ^

Thanks for the post, StephenRKass.

I don't buy the Meyer/Saban thing on a coaching level, but perhaps there is some truth to it when it comes to being a player. Harbaugh was a standout athlete who had a lot of success as a quarterback at a high level, and now he's a very good coach. Meanwhile, Meyer/Saban perhaps have some underlying fire/resentment from their athletic careers since they weren't elite players.