NFL Lockout Watch, Day 59: Agents Claim Teams Tampering With Undrafted Players
Six NFL player agents have said that teams "were contacting them in regard to their undrafted free-agent clients after the draft, a violation of NFL lockout rules," according to Eric Edholm of PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY. NFL teams are "not allowed to have any contact with any undrafted players," and NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello confirmed that "any contact between teams and agents or players currently would constitute tampering." Three of the six agents said that "representatives of NFL clubs even used personal cell phones to contact the agents following the conclusion" of the draft, as opposed to calling from "team-issued lines where evidence of tampering might be easier to trace via phone records in any official NFL audit." Two more agents said that teams "called players directly in a few cases." Undrafted C Tim Barnes last week said that "three teams contacted him after the draft: the Ravens, Bengals and Dolphins." Bengals PR Dir Jack Brennan said the team is "puzzled by the report" and is unaware of any coach or scout calling Barnes; Dolphins Senior VP/Media Relations Harvey Greene said he was unaware of the report. The Ravens did not respond for comment (PROFOOTBALLWEEKLY.com, 5/6).
WAITING FOR THEIR WORLD TO CHANGE: In St. Louis, Bill Coats notes "uncertainty rules the day" for undrafted free agents. Agent Harold Lewis said he advises his clients to "just keep yourself in shape, keep working out hard." Lewis: "You know that there's interest." Undrafted CB Niles Brinkley said, "We've got to wait, be patient and be ready for the call. You get frustrated a little bit, but you know that it eventually will be over and you'll be with a team." Undrafted WR Jamorris Warren: "You've just got to prepare yourself and get ready for when the time comes, whenever the lockout's over" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/9). Undrafted RB John Clay: "We're all in a tough boat right now. ... You've got to just play it by ear, and whenever they figure what they want to do with the lockout, then teams will be making moves. All you can do until then is take care of your side of the business by keeping in shape, and being ready to go when the time comes" (SI.com, 5/6).