SBJ/Feb. 17-23, 2014/Labor and Agents

Agents make moves, sign prospects as NFL draft approaches

Liz Mullen
JL Sports, the firm owned by veteran NFL player agent Joe Linta, has partnered with two newly certified agents while signing one of its biggest NFL draft classes ever, including LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

JL Sports represents Mettenberger in partnership with Seth Katz, a marketing agent and founder of AMG Pro Sports who became certified by the NFL Players Association last year. JL Sports and AMG Pro Sports also have combined to co-represent LSU fullback J.C. Copeland, LSU wide receiver Kadron Boone and Virginia Tech linebacker Jack Tyler.

Quarterback Zach Mettenberger is among JL Sports’ clients.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
AMG Pro Sports has worked with JL Sports clients in the past, handling marketing deals for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco for years before Katz, 37, became certified to represent players in contract work.

Last year, JL Sports added to its team by bringing on contract agent Spencer Cannold, 30, and his presence is already reaping benefits. Cannold helped recruit and sign Georgia offensive guard Chris Burnette, Syracuse linebacker Marquis Spruill, Georgia Tech linebacker Brandon Watts and Auburn cornerback Chris Davis.

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Linta, who started as an agent 22 years ago, and fellow agent Tom Kleine, are co-representing the players with Katz and Cannold.

Linta said he partnered with Katz and Cannold because of their integrity, honesty and work ethic. “Any young guy you hire, you find they are grinders,” Linta said.

Linta said the results are a strong number of invites for the NFL combine later this month. “We signed seven guys who are going to the combine, which is a record for us,” he said.

> BILBO SIGNS NFL PROSPECTS: Former NFL player and newly certified NFL agent Damarius Bilbo has opened Revolution Sports Management and has signed Notre Dame wide receiver T.J. Jones and LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry as clients. Bilbo formerly worked for NFL agent Todd France’s Five Star Athlete Management after a brief NFL playing career. He was certified to represent players by the NFLPA in 2013.

> WILLIS & WOY SIGNS PROSPECTS: Willis & Woy Sports Group signed several NFL draft prospects, including Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat. The Dallas-based firm also signed Florida State safety Terrence Brooks, Oklahoma State wide receiver Josh Stewart, Utah State cornerback Nevin Lawson and Purdue defensive tackle Bruce Gaston.

Agents Jordan Woy, Jack Scharf and Ashley Millerick will represent the players.

Meanwhile, free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who most recently played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, left Willis & Woy earlier this month. Asked for comment, Woy stated in an email, “I am proud that we helped engineer his restricted free agency deal last year that almost doubled his salary from his original tender by the Steelers. … Players change agencies for a variety of reasons, but Emmanuel told me he only has only good things to say about our agency.”

Sanders had not signed with a new agent as of press time for this column

> BEREZIN BECOMES AGENT: Former NHL player Sergei Berezin has received temporary certification to be an agent from the NHL Players’ Association and has signed Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov as a client.

The Russian-born Berezin played in the NHL from 1996 through the 2002-03 season, after which he retired. He was granted interim certification from the NHLPA for the purposes of representing one player, Markov.

Markov, who is playing for the Russian Olympic team in Sochi, left his agent, Don Meehan of Newport Sports, last fall.

Markov is in the final year of his deal with the Canadiens and has been the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks.

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

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