I wouldn’t trade my career of being an NFL agent for anything. The relationships I made and the experiences I’ve had and have are priceless. However, there are several miserable components to the job that the movie Jerry Maguire has made somewhat glamorous.
1) Client poaching and lack of loyalty – You work hard securing a new client. You invest over twenty to thirty thousand dollars in recruiting him and preparing him. You make all the right decisions for him, get him a great rookie contract and provide first-rate honest service for him for four years. However, you lose him on the doorstep of his second big contract to one of the usual firms who typically make a living on client poaching. Some agencies will work hard to convince your clients they have to make a move to secure a better contract and more endorsements. The sad part is that capable agents can do just as good of a job as the more well known agents but either ego or insecurity can motivate a player to make a switch. I personally have been very lucky not to have lost many clients over the years. I think the values of the type of guys I represent don’t let them fall prey to it. But many agents lose their best clients to outlandish promises of some higher profile agents. It’s a tough part of the business.
Watching a client get injured is one of the worst parts of being an agent.
2) Being on call 24/7 – I once walked into a restaurant and my girlfriend asked me not to take any calls before or during dinner. Sure enough just as we were walking in the phone rang and it was one of my biggest clients. I of course picked it up, while getting the big disapproving eye roll from the girlfriend. I asked my client “if it was anything that could wait till tomorrow?” He said, “I need you now!” I could tell in his voice he was shaken up about something. So I spent the next 30 minutes talking him off a ledge (figuratively of course) while my girlfriend waited for me building up steam with every passing minute at the bar. Upon sitting down for dinner, I reminded my girlfriend that it’s because of my clients that I can afford to take her to nice restaurants.
I, like all agents, can never go completely off the grid. My phone stays on next to the bed, I have chargers all over the house and office and in my briefcase. Agents can go on vacations but their phone will always be close by and we better be ready to handle any client situation that arises at any time. There are maybe a few weeks in May and June where things slow down for us. However, the switch is always “ON”, that’s what they pay us for.
3) Recruiting – The love/hate of recruiting is not meeting with new prospective clients or their families. It’s putting your heart, soul, energy and resources into wanting to help a young man live his dream. Only to lose out to competition that offered an inducement or made a promise or promises that is/are unrealistic but plays on the hopes and fears of a draftee. I never mind losing out to another quality agent who out hustled me or just had a better rapport with the player. It does suck when the player is being misled and just signs with an agent because their clienteles may be better known. Any agent will tell you that the recruiting war is the toughest part of the business because the courting process can last about 9 months to a year. An agent may visit up to 20 prospects multiple times to sign just three or four of them. During the recruiting period agents are at their worst and will do anything to get clients. For those working hard with integrity and doing it by the book and then losing out to those who are less scrupulous can suck the life out an agent.
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