SBJ/20110103/Labor & Agents

Harrison and Dunn among retired pros taking to the Maxx

Maxx Sports Entertainment, a firm specializing in representing athletes in marketing and broadcast work, especially after their playing careers are over, has built its client base by signing a number of retired pros in the last year.

Former NFL stars Rodney Harrison and Warrick Dunn, as well as former NHL star Jeremy Roenick, have recently signed on as clients, said Mark Lepselter, CEO of New York-based Maxx.

Lepselter has represented athletes for off-the-field and post-career opportunities for 15 years, and may be best known as former NFL player Tiki Barber's agent. "We feel we have a very diversified platform at Maxx and we are thankful that retired talent is giving us the opportunity to help them in the next stages of their careers," Lepselter said.

Additionally, Maxx signed former MLB pitcher Brian Anderson, former NBA player Eric Snow and former NFL player Torry Holt.

Lepselter recently negotiated an extension for Harrison to serve as a studio analyst on NBC's "Football Night in America" as well as a deal for Holt to serve as a studio analyst for the NFL Network.

NFLPA OFFERS UPDATE ON CBA TALKS: NFLPA Executive Committee members Brian Dawkins and Mike Vrabel held a conference call with reporters last week in which they dispelled talk in the industry that the NFL and union were making progress on the league's proposal to expand the season from 16 to 18 regular-season games.

"I think the safety of the players should be the No. 1 thing," Dawkins said. "Adding two more games to a season that is already as physical as it can be … careers are short. … I just don't see it happening."

Vrabel said the owners' proposal that players give back an additional 18 percent off the top of revenue that makes up the salary cap when the owners are not losing money and won't open their books remains a key issue.

"If this deal doesn't work for them and this last CBA is so bad for them … we need to know [why]," Vrabel said.

ATHLETES FIRST SIGNS KERRIGAN: Athletes First has signed Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan for representation in the NFL draft. Website NFLDraftScout.com projected Kerrigan as a first-rounder last week.

AUSTIN CHOOSES MAXIMUM: Maximum Sports Management has signed former University of North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin for representation in the draft. Maximum principal Roosevelt Barnes will be Austin's primary agent.

Austin was at the center of the agent scandal at North Carolina in which more than a dozen players were suspended for at least a portion of the college football season. Austin was seen as a first-round draft selection before this season but never played a down; he was suspended and then dismissed from the program in October for violating NCAA rules regarding receiving improper benefits.

Although a number of agents' names have surfaced in industry circles in relation to the UNC NCAA scandal, Barnes' name and the names of other Maximum agents have not been among them. Austin was projected as a second-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com.

SMITH TO ALL PRO: All Pro Sports & Entertainment has signed Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith for representation in the draft. All Pro principal Peter Schaffer will represent Smith, who was ranked as the No. 2 cornerback and the No. 12 overall senior on NFLDraftScout.com last week.

PLAYERSREP WILL REP PATRICK: PlayersRep has signed former Louisville cornerback Johnny Patrick for representation in the draft. Agents Nate Haber and Andy Simms will represent Patrick, who is ranked the No. 4 overall corner and projected as a second-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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