SBJ/February 3 - 9, 2003/Labor Agents

Agent for Bucs’ Jackson spends Super Bowl hosting clients, offers

When Tampa Bay safety Dexter Jackson got his first interception in the Super Bowl, his agent, Peter Schaffer, was in the kitchen of his Denver area home, filling plates for his rookie clients who were there watching the game.

By halftime, Jackson already had his second pick and Schaffer — who represents Jackson with his longtime partner Lamont Smith — was headed for his office to get his Rolodex.

"I was on the phone with sports marketing people who were going to be interested in potential deals during the whole fourth quarter," Schaffer said. After the game, when Jackson was named Super Bowl MVP, sports marketing officials and NFL team personnel were calling Schaffer.

As it happens, Jackson, a fourth-round pick out of Florida State in 1999, becomes a free agent this year.

Legally, team officials and agents can't discuss any specific players eligible for free agency until after March 1. But, Schaffer said, "Coincidentally, I had a number of phone calls congratulating me from team [officials] in the NFL, who coincidentally seem to have a need at the position."

Denver-based All Pro Sports & Entertainment, the company co-owned by Smith and Schaffer, represents about 50 players in the NFL. Since the two lawyers formed their partnership 15 years ago, they have represented such stars as Eddie George, Jerome Bettis, Willie Roaf and Barry Sanders. (Sanders was co-represented by football agent David Ware.)

It's a funny business, Schaffer said. "You represent all these people that Vegas would make odds on to win the Super Bowl MVP and your first one is Dexter Jackson. It couldn't have happened to a nicer person, a person who doesn't put himself out there. All these guys were talking the talk all [Super Bowl] week, and there is Dexter just putting in his workmanlike effort."

Schaffer said he and Jackson discussed the possibility of Jackson being named Super Bowl MVP during a telephone call the Wednesday night before the game.

"I swear to God, I said this: 'Get two interceptions and win the MVP like Larry Brown,' " Schaffer said, referring to the Dallas cornerback who won the MVP trophy in the 1996 Super Bowl.

Jackson, who hails from a small town in Florida, laughed but sort of dismissed the idea.

The year Brown won the Super Bowl MVP he, too, was a free agent. He went on to sign a big contract with Oakland.

AGENT PLANS FOR WNBA STOPPAGE: Bruce Levy, an agent who represents more than 30 WNBA players, is working on alternative plans in case there is a work stoppage this summer.

Levy said he is talking to pro women's basketball teams in Europe about sending his players there early for extra pay. Usually WNBA players who play in Italy and Spain go to those teams in October, when seasons there are just starting. But Levy has had talks about sending players abroad in August, which would allow them to earn more money as well as participate in preseason workouts and make appearances for team sponsors.

Good women's basketball players can make from $70,000 to $250,000 a year after taxes in Europe, compared to the WNBA average of $46,000, Levy noted.

"I don't have any agreements signed," Levy said. But he added that he has agreements in principle for two players to go to Europe in August if there is no WNBA season.

The WNBA collective-bargaining agreement expired Sept. 15, and the two sides have not made much progress on a new agreement. The season is scheduled to start in late May.

Levy expects the two sides to hammer out a deal but wants to be prepared "because I have been wrong before."

CORNSTEIN SIGNS FOUR FOR NBA DRAFT: Marc Cornstein, president of Pinnacle Management, has signed several players for representation in the NBA draft, including 7-foot-6 Slavko Vranes, a 19-year-old center for Buducnost, a professional team in Montenegro.

Cornstein also signed Vranes' teammates, 6-foot-7 Aleksandar Pavlovic and Ivan Koljevic, a 6-foot-2 point guard. Additionally, Cornstein signed 20-year-old Zoran Planinic, a 6-foot-6 point guard who plays for Cibona, a pro team in Croatia.

SIMS SIGNS TWO NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS: James Sims, president of Sims Sports Management, has signed Eugene Wilson, a promising cornerback from the University of Illinois, for representation in the NFL draft.

Sims also signed cornerback B.J. Tucker, projected as a middle to late draft prospect, from the University of Wisconsin.

LATTINVILLE SIGNS STILES: Attorney Bob Lattinville has signed 2001 WNBA rookie of the year Jackie Stiles for representation. Stiles was formerly represented by Octagon.

Lattinville works in the sports practice of the St. Louis office of law firm Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP.

Contact Liz Mullen with labor and agent news, tips and anecdotes at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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