SBJ/June 17-23, 2013/Labor and Agents

NFL will wait till next year’s draft on other calendar decisions

Liz Mullen
The NFL may re-evaulate the timing of offseason activities that surround its annual draft, but any decisions on schedule changes would not come until after next May’s event, according to Atlanta Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay, who is chairman of the league’s influential competition committee.

The league announced last month that the draft, which has long been held in late April, would be moved back next year and held May 8-10. The reason for the change was a conflict at Radio City Music Hall, where the draft is held.

“I think what the league will do is take the input of the teams next year after they operate with a May draft and see what were the pros and what were the cons,” McKay said last week.

There have been reports that the NFL could change other events on its offseason calendar, as well, including the combine and the start of free agency. McKay acknowledged there has been talk of spreading out those events over the offseason, but he added, “Anybody suggesting there will be a permanent change in the league’s calendar beyond next year’s draft is simply speculating.”

The combine will be held next year in late February, about the same time it always is, even though the draft was moved two weeks later. Agents pay for prospects’ pre-combine training, and many are concerned that the event will be moved to a later date, which would mean more expenses for them as training is extended.

“I am concerned about speculation that the combine will be moved back three to four weeks beginning in 2015, and beyond,” said veteran agent Pat Dye Jr., president of Sportstrust Advisors. “Inevitably, that will entail an additional three to four weeks of pre-combine training expenses for the agent community. This may ultimately affect the quality of representation available to later-round picks, which is unfortunate.”

> IMG SIGNS SATURDAY, PIOLI: IMG has signed longtime Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday (now retired) and former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli for representation in broadcasting work as well as speaking and other commercial endeavors. Sandy Montag, IMG senior corporate vice president and head of clients, will be the lead agent for both.

Montag would not say what deals he was working on for either individual but said both have the personalities, football knowledge and smarts that networks want in broadcasters.

He noted in particular the personality of Saturday, who retired this year after a 14-season NFL career that included a highly visible role as a team player rep. Saturday has long been well-regarded by his peers and was lauded for his leadership during the 2011 labor talks.

“It is kind of rare that a former center would have that kind of personality, and we look forward to working on various business endeavors for him,” Montag said.

Since his departure from the Chiefs at the end of this season, Pioli has done some broadcast work for NBC Sports Network, Sirius XM Radio and the NFL Network.

“Scott is a really intelligent former general manager, and we see tremendous upside for him in the broadcasting space,” Montag said.

> DUMERVIL UPDATE: The NFL Players Association has requested information from the Denver Broncos regarding the contract negotiation of former Broncos and current Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil to see if a violation of the collective-bargaining agreement occurred. Dumervil was cut by the Broncos on March 15 after the club reportedly missed a deadline to fax his renegotiated deal to the NFL. The club blamed Dumervil’s agent at the time, Marty Magid of MRM Sports & Entertainment, for missing the deadline, while Magid claimed the team was at fault. After being released, Dumervil left Magid and signed with Tom Condon of CAA Sports.

In a statement, the NFLPA said that “facts gathered thus far have raised serious questions about violations by the team of its good faith obligations under the CBA.”

Broncos spokesman Patrick Smythe responded via email: “It’s an internal matter that we prefer not to comment on out of respect for all parties involved.”

> NEW LOGO FOR ASM SPORTS: ASM Sports, the basketball player representation firm founded by agent Andy Miller, has rebranded the agency with a new logo to reflect its global reach.

The new logo depicts the ASM Sports moniker against the image of a globe. The graphics in the old logo were a basketball and a hoop.

Miller founded ASM Sports in 1999 with one office in Tenafly, N.J. The headquarters office is now in nearby Edgewater, N.J, but ASM Sports also operates 14 other offices around the world, including in Spain, Italy, Mexico and Argentina. The agency represents 40 NBA players and 70 pro players on teams in Europe and Asia.

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


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