SBJ/June 19-25, 2017/Labor and Agents

Browns’ Jackson becomes Roc Nation’s first coaching client

Roc Nation Sports has signed its first coaching client, Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson.

Jackson will be returning to agent John Thornton, who represented him when Thornton worked at Octagon.

Thornton, who negotiated Jackson’s four-year deal with the Browns in January 2016, left Octagon for Roc Nation three months later.

Their relationship goes back many years before that, to when Thornton was a defensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals in the early 2000s and Jackson coached the wide receivers. Jackson would invite players from the team to dinner every Thursday, and Thornton was among those who attended.

JACKSON
Roc Nation will represent Jackson for endorsements as well as coaching contracts. “It’s a full-service deal,” Thornton said. “But you have to win to get those things,” he added.

Cleveland, at 1-15, had the worst record in the NFL last season and tied for the second-worst record in 2015.

Thornton thinks Jackson has the abilities to turn it around, however, in part because of the way he is able to work with players.

“Even the guys who leave there, they say, ‘Listen, we think he’s going to turn it around,’” Thornton said. “I’ve seen it personally, just being a player. He can discipline, he can be strict with you, but then after that it’s ‘Let’s get something to eat,’ and the players respect it.”

> VOLLEYBALLER TO PSM: Progressive Sports Management has signed beach volleyball player Sara Hughes, who won four national championships at USC and is expected to compete for Team USA in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Thomas McCarthy, president and CEO of Denver-based PSM, will represent Hughes. McCarthy has represented numerous high-profile female Olympic athletes, including softball pitcher Lisa Fernandez, skier Picabo Street and beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor.

“She is a big deal,” McCarthy said. “She is like Misty. She’s a tremendous player.”

McCarthy said that he’s in discussions with several major brands about endorsements for Hughes and that he had competition from other agencies to sign her. The fact that he represented May-Treanor may have played a part in Hughes’ decision.

“Certainly Misty has been an idol of hers,” McCarthy said. “But Sara is a smart young lady. She makes her own decisions.”

> OCTAGON ADDS PROSPECTS: Octagon has signed several prospects for the NBA draft, including Indiana forward OG Anunoby and Kentucky center Bam Adebayo, both projected to go in the first round.

Anunoby was at No. 15 and Adebayo at No. 24 on the DraftExpress.com mock draft last week.

Anunoby is represented by Octagon’s Chris Emens and Omar Wilkes, and Adebayo is represented by Alex Saratsis.

Those agents also signed Iowa State guard Monte Morris and Oregon guard Tyler Dorsey.

Octagon also signed veteran forward/center Donatas Motiejunas, who played for the New Orleans Pelicans last season but will be a free agent this summer. Emens is representing Motiejunas, who was formerly represented by Wasserman.

> ASM SIGNS NBA DRAFT CLASS: ASM Sports has signed Creighton center Justin Patton, who was slotted No. 19 last week on the DraftExpress.com mock draft.

ASM founder Andy Miller represents Patton.

ASM also signed Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans, Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame, Miami guard Davon Reed and Xavier guard Edmond Sumner.

Miller and agent Steve Pina are representing the players.

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


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