SBJ/February 6-12, 2012/Labor and Agents

Alabama cornerback working to maintain status in the draft

Liz Mullen
Brian Overstreet
, agent for NFL draft prospect Dre Kirkpatrick, says his client is working hard to be the first cornerback taken in the draft and he expects him to be found innocent of misdemeanor drug charges soon.

Kirkpatrick, who came out of Alabama as a junior, was arrested with Chris Rogers, a former Alabama cornerback and current Under Armour employee, on Jan. 17 and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana by the Manatee County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Department. They are both scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 21 in state court, but the state attorney is still completing an investigation and the prosecutor’s office has not yet charged them, said Heather Doyle, assistant state attorney for Manatee County.

Dre Kirkpatrick faces misdemeanor drug charges stemming from a Jan. 17 arrest.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
The NFL scouting combine starts Feb. 22. Overstreet said Kirkpatrick will be there and, he said, he hopes that Kirkpatrick will be proved innocent by that time. “We know that he is unequivocally innocent in that situation and we trust the process is going to show that very soon,” Overstreet said. He would not elaborate on why he believed Kirkpatrick would be exonerated.

Kirkpatrick was widely viewed as a top-10 pick prior to his arrest, and Overstreet acknowledged that his arrest may have adversely affected his draft status. Website NFLDraftScout.com dropped him from No. 7 to No. 14 overall in its mock draft last week. LSU’s Morris Claiborne is seen as the other premier cornerback in this draft; he was projected at No. 6 overall last week.

Rogers said of Kirkpatrick, “The kid was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and when they interview him [at the combine] and do the drug test, they will see he is not that kid.”

Rogers added, “My company is doing an investigation on it, but we are both innocent.” He declined further comment.

Diane Pelkey, Under Armour vice president, global communications and entertainment, said in an email that Rogers works in the company’s sports marketing group. “Yes he was on company business and no we have not signed Dre as an endorser,” Pelkey wrote in response to questions. “Under Armour takes these matters very seriously, and we are currently conducting our own internal investigation.”

Kirkpatrick was a passenger in a car Rogers was driving in Bradenton, Fla., where IMG Academies is based, when they were arrested in the early morning hours of Jan. 17, according to news reports. Overstreet, who said he signed Kirkpatrick on Jan. 25, said Rogers had taken him to IMG Academies, where he had previously worked as an intern, and was going to pay for his pre-combine training there. “He [Rogers] was trying to let Under Armour get him to train him, in hopes of him signing with Under Armour down the road,” Overstreet said. Pelkey had no comment on that.

IMG spokesman Jim Gallagher said Rogers was never a paid employee of IMG. “He was an unpaid intern for three months,” Gallagher said. “Our understanding is he brought Dre Kirkpatrick to IMG Academies and it was one of several facilities around the United States that they visited.”

ATHLETES FIRST SIGNS DRAFT PROSPECTS: Athletes First has signed Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd for representation in the NFL draft. Athletes First has also signed South Carolina defensive end/linebacker Melvin Ingram, Iowa State offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson, Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick and Arizona quarterback Nick Foles. Agents David Dunn, Joby Branion, Andrew Kessler, Brian Murphy, Justin Schulman and Camron Hahn will represent the players.

BTI SIGNS DRAFT PROSPECTS: Chicago-based NFL player representation firm BTI Sports has signed Wisconsin center Peter Konz and Boise State free safety George Iloka for representation in the NFL draft. NFL agents and BTI partners Joe Flanagan, Brad Leshnock and Ron Slavin will represent the players.

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

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