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Volume 24 No. 156

Labor and Agents

Jets second-round NFL Draft pick QB Geno Smith recently "fired his agents in his first significant decision" as a pro after he "plummeted" out of the first round of the NFL Draft last week, according to Manish Mehta of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Smith's "belief that he would have -- and should have -- been the No. 1 overall pick contributed to the move, even though he was given no assurances of his draft position." Smith yesterday maintained that he did not fire his agents at Select Sports Group "due to the draft-day fall." Smith: "I don't want to shed too much light on it. The thing that I can tell you is that it's not because of the whole draft experience. It's not because of one particular incident. There's a number of things. And that story, you know, that battle will be fought on a different day" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/1). Smith must wait five days before signing with a new agent. He had been represented by agents Jeff Nalley, Graylan Crain, Erik Burkhardt and Vann McElroy (Liz Mullen, Staff Writer).

WAS SMITH LED ASTRAY? CBS Sports Network's Doug Gottlieb said for agents to "land a client like Geno Smith, you have to fill him full of bull and tell him, 'We think you can be the No. 1 pick.'" But CBS Sports Net's Allie LaForce said, "Then when you're wrong, it's all your fault. Shouldn't you have more responsibility as an agent in letting him know his realistic options?" Gottlieb: "I would say it all depends on the agent/player relationship" ("Lead Off," CBSSN, 4/30). SportsNet N.Y.'s Adam Schein said, "Some people say it shows immaturity. I say he was with some of the worst agents in the NFL" ("Loudmouths," SNY, 4/30). Meanwhile, ESPN's Tim Hasselbeck noted there has been "plenty of talk about and questions over how Geno Smith handles ... adversity, handles the heat." If he dismissed his agents because of the Draft experience, then it is "not a good sign." Hasselbeck: "It didn't matter who his agent was, the fact is teams are picking who they've evaluated and who they want. They're not picking a guy because of who represents him" ("NFL 32," ESPN2, 4/30).