SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2005/Forty Under 40

Drew Rosenhaus



Love him or hate him, no one can deny that NFL player agent Drew Rosenhaus has become a very powerful person in the world of sports.

Drew Rosenhaus
• Age: 38
• Title: President
• Company: Rosenhaus Sports Representation Inc.
• Family: Single
• Education: B.A., University of Miami, 1987; J.D., Duke University School of Law, 1990
• Career: Started as an agent while in law school; was 22 years old when he first registered with the NFL Players Association
• Last vacation: I never take vacations. But every day is a vacation when you love your work the way that I do.
• Last book read: I read comics on a daily basis. On almost every flight. My favorite comic is "Batman."
• Last movie seen: I rarely have time to go to movies. I watch them on DVD or pay-per-view. Most recent DVD I watched was "Hero."
• Greatest achievement: Cover of Sports Illustrated
• Greatest disappointment: Not yet representing the first pick of the NFL draft
• Fantasy job: Member of the military's Special Forces unit
• Business advice: Find a trusted partner like my brother, Jason Rosenhaus, to work with.
Especially in the last year. In a feat unheard of since the business of representing athletes began, Rosenhaus signed 39 professional football players in a single year. He now represents more than 80 NFL players, including Jeremy Shockey, Jevon Kearse, Anquan Boldin, Clinton Portis, Fred Taylor, Santana Moss and Warren Sapp.

Sports Illustrated dubbed Rosenhaus “the most hated man in football” in a 1996 cover story, and his year of smashing records for signing players hasn’t made him any friends in the agent business. That’s because at least 32 of his 39 new clients had been signed to other agents, before the players fired them and signed with Rosenhaus.

Although a lot of rival agents complain about Rosenhaus, some have a grudging respect for him.

“Here is a guy who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the most hated man, and every agent in the country and a lot of NFL front-office types despised him, and he went on to build one of the biggest representation firms in the country in the face of it all,” said veteran NFL player agent Jack Bechta. “I respect that. He has a place in our industry.”

Rosenhaus has said that football representation is a business in which no one trusts anyone, which is why his brother is the only other contract agent in his company.

“Drew is, without a doubt, the most entertaining, dynamic and charismatic guy in the business of sports,” said Jason Rosenhaus, Drew’s younger brother and partner in Rosenhaus Sports.

The two grew up in the Miami area, sons of Robert Rosenhaus, a self-made businessman who owned a synthetic marble manufacturing company, Jason Rosenhaus said. Robert Rosenhaus became friendly with some players on the Miami Dolphins team, and players regularly came to dinner at the Rosenhaus home when Drew and Jason were growing up.

“Drew became enamored with these guys,” Jason said, “and took a great deal of pride in being able to conversate with them about their business and the team, and he became in love with the Miami Dolphins.”

Jason said that in addition to his father and the Dolphins who visited their home, Drew was deeply influenced by his boyhood Korean martial arts instructor.

The instructor “was an extreme disciplinarian,” Jason said. “He took a special interest in Drew and took a soft, mama’s boy and made him into a disciplined, aspiring student.”

Drew gained “a mental toughness” from martial arts that he applied to his studies at the University of Miami and Duke Law School, and to his business as a sports agent.

Jason noted that, although other agents have accused his brother of stealing clients, and some of those agents have filed grievances with the NFL Players Association, not one of those complaints has been upheld.

“I know that other agents dislike us,” Drew said. “But if you ever meet a person that doesn’t say I am the hardest-working guy in this business, I would be surprised.”

Drew said that he and his brother are “raising the standard” of the representation business. “If you don’t want to lose your client to someone who works as hard as we do, then you are going to have to work hard,” he said.

Rosenhaus said he negotiated contracts valued at more than $300 million last year, which included about $90 million in bonuses that were guaranteed. This offseason, Rosenhaus said he wants to negotiate $500 million in contracts, and that eventually he wants to negotiate $1 billion worth of contracts in one year.

“Why not?” he said. “It’s never been done before, but it’s a goal.”

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