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SBJ/February 4 - 10, 2002/Labor Agents
Moon, White take jobs with agents
Published February 4, 2002
Recently retired NFL greats Warren Moon and Reggie White have taken jobs with agents, part of a growing wave of famous athletes getting into the sports-representation business as employees or investors.
Moon is trying to help his former agent, Leigh Steinberg, build back his practice after the departure of Steinberg's partner, David Dunn, and dozens of NFL player clients.
White has been out recruiting players with agent James "Bus" Cook, the agent of White's former teammate Brett Favre.
In the last year, PGA Tour player Brad Faxon joined sports agency Woolf Associates as a managing director trying to bolster the company's golf corporate-consulting business. Former British Open champ Justin Leonard took an equity stake in agent Rocky Hambric's sports marketing company, joining fellow professional golfers Bob Tway and Charles Howell III, who are minority owners.
In addition, current NFL players Brad Johnson and Ron Dayne have taken equity stakes in Lammi Sports Management, and several former NFL players, including William Floyd and Bo Orlando, were among the would-be agents taking the NFL Players Association's certification test last month.
"This is a small movement in the business for logical reasons," said Cathy Griffin, head of global sports at executive search firm Korn/Ferry International. She added that athletes want to stay in sports after their playing days are over, and famous names open doors in recruiting.
The story of athletes taking part in the sports-agent business is as old as the business itself. Legend has it that around 1960 Arnold Palmer took a 10 percent stake in International Management Group, the business started by his agent, Mark McCormack. IMG officials won't confirm or deny the story and won't say whether Palmer is part owner of the billion-dollar company today.
IMG is a company full of former athletes. Former NFL player Tom Condon runs IMG football, former minor league baseball player Casey Close heads the baseball division and former college basketball player Mark Steinberg is agent to Tiger Woods.
Powerful baseball agent Scott Boras, who runs his own successful company, is a former minor league baseball player. But Boras, Condon, Close and Mark Steinberg are examples of people who are more often noted as successful agents than as former players.
Former NFL defensive end Sean Jones is one example of a player who has seen success both on the field and as an agent.
Johnson, quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said he has made introductions for Brian Lammi with people in sports, but added that he is not interested in becoming an agent when he retires from football.
"I want to probably be a high school basketball coach," Johnson said.
Johnson's Lammi co-investor Dayne said he wants to take more active role in Lammi Sports when his playing days are over.
"Being a football player, you want to stay around football, even when you retire," said the New York Giants running back.
Moon said he wouldn't have taken a job as vice president of Assante Sports Management if he didn't think he could help the firm.
Leigh Steinberg lost about half of his NFL clients when Dunn left the firm.
"Leigh has been such a good friend to me over the course of my career," Moon said. "I want to come in and help him re-establish his practice and build it back up to where it once was."