SBJ/February 4-10, 2013/Labor and Agents

Several NFL draft prospects calling audibles on agent choices

Liz Mullen
Several high-profile NFL prospects, including BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, a projected first-round pick, have fired their agents in recent weeks.

Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter and San Jose State players Ryan Otten, a tight end, and David Quessenberry, an offensive tackle, also terminated their contracts with agents in January.

Ezekiel Ansah was “the hot thing at the Senior Bowl” after dismissing his agent.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Ansah was projected as the No. 15 overall pick by NFLDraftScout.com last week. He was formerly represented by Jerome Stanley. Hunter was co-represented by J.T. Johnson and Tae Darnell of Atlas Sports Agency and Fletcher Smith at Blueprint Management Group. Otten and Quessenberry were represented by Steve Caric of Caric Sports Management. Hunter was projected as a second- or third-round pick, Quessenberry as a third- to fourth-round pick, and Otten as a sixth- to seventh-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com last week.

The fact that Ansah was agent-less caused a stir at the recent Senior Bowl, agents said. “[He] was the hot thing at the Senior Bowl,” one agent said. “The agents found out that he fired Jerome, and they were just swarming him.”
Agents asked for anonymity because draft prospects are not able to sign with another agent until 30 days after the day they signed with their original agent.

Ansah terminated Stanley on Jan. 14, but it is not clear when he signed with him. Stanley declined comment.

One of Hunter’s former agents, Darnell, said he is looking into whether another agent interfered in his relationship with Hunter, which would be a violation of NFLPA rules.

“At this point, there may be some tampering involved,” Darnell said. “It’s more than likely we will take action.”
Agents can bring grievances against other agents under union rules.

“We have nothing bad to say about Justin,” Darnell added. “He’s a great kid. Just, sometimes, people get in their ears.”

Caric, meanwhile, said both Quessenberry and Otten decided to seek other representation after he signed Stanford tight end Zach Ertz, who was projected as the No. 19 overall pick by NFLDraftScout.com last week.

Caric said that Otten did not want to be represented by an agent who represented another tight end and that Quessenberry wanted to have the same agent as Otten.

> SPORTSTARS SIGN DRAFT PROSPECTS: Sportstars signed University of Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who was projected as the No. 28 overall pick by NFLDraftScout.com last week.

Sportstars also signed Virginia offensive tackle Oday Aboushi, Southeastern Louisiana cornerback Robert Alford, Kansas State wide receiver Chris Harper, Georgia wide receiver Tavarres King, San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar, UConn cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Michigan State tight end Dion Sims.

Sportstars agents Brian Mackler, Jon Perzley, Alan Herman, Jared Fox and Jason Chayut will represent the players.

> SPORTSTRUST SIGNS ALABAMA PLAYERS: SportsTrust Advisors signed running back Eddie Lacy from the national champion University of Alabama football team.

SportsTrust also signed Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson and safety Robert Lester for representation. SportsTrust President Pat Dye Jr. will serve as the lead agent for the players.

> IF SIGNS PLAYERS FOR BROADCAST WORK: IF Management has signed former MLB catcher Gregg Zaun and former NBA center Jarron Collins for representation in broadcast work.

Gideon Cohen, vice president of New York-based IF, will represent both Collins and Zaun.

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

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