by Jack Bechta
July 21, 02009
Starting off as agent can lead to some prosperous opportunities. In football, there have been several agents who parlayed their agent businesses into other careers, most of them with NFL teams.
Bruce Allen, until recently the GM of the Buccaneers, started out as an agent. He built the Phoenix-based Sports Agency into one of the biggest and best. He subsequently leveraged his knowledge of contracts and a long-term relationship with Raiders owner Al Davis into managing the Raiders’ salary cap.
Our own Andrew Brandt was personally cherry-picked by Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf of the Packers. As the salary cap grew, many of the true personnel guys like Wolf wanted a detailed numbers guy like Andrew to take over the day-to-day deal-making and cap management. Andrew went from representing players like QB Matt Hasselbeck to signing their checks.
Baseball agent Jeff Moorad went from working with Leigh Steinberg to managing the Arizona Diamondbacks to buying the San Diego Padres.
Cliff Stein, the Chicago Bears’ director of football administration and general counsel, started out as an agent. While working as an attorney doing union labor law mixed with some personal injury work, Cliff quietly built a stable of 10 players. His players weren’t household names, but they were making rosters and working their way into starting lineups.
About six years ago, when GM Jerry Angelo was looking for someone to be his cap guy, he reached out to Cliff, along with several others, to see if he was interested. Jerry was looking for an attorney who could handle more than just player contracts.
Cliff was introduced to Angelo by the National Football Post’s Michael Lombardi (Jersey boys). Jerry continued to get to know Cliff by talking to him over the years about players he represented. As the story goes, they once met at a Hampton-Howard game to check out some prospects. While other GMs and agents were attending Michigan vs. Ohio State, or Texas vs. Oklahoma, these two were getting some one-on-one time at a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game in the southeast. This obviously turned out to be an investment in time by Stein as the two are still working together in Chicago.
If your end goal is to work for a team, it may pay to start on the other side of the fence.