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Volume 23 No. 24
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Genske: Winston has chance to become a top player, endorser

As a former trial lawyer, Greg Genske is accustomed to asking questions. As an agent to Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston, Genske is ready to answer questions from NFL clubs about the Heisman Trophy winner, who could be taken No. 1 overall in this year’s draft.

“We will talk to any team and provide answers to any questions they might have,” Genske said in a telephone interview earlier this month shortly after he signed Winston. “We are really looking forward to moving forward.”

Genske is president of baseball and executive director of The Legacy Agency and, with agent Kenny Felder, is co-representing Winston. TLA has signed Winston for representation on and off the field.

“I have every expectation that he has the chance to be one of the best players in the NFL, and, at the appropriate time, I think he has the chance to be one of the most marketable athletes in the United States,” Genske said last week.

Jameis Winston, shown at July’s ESPYs, signed with agent Greg Genske.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
That’s a bold statement, considering almost as much press was devoted to Winston’s behavior off the field as his achievements on the field during his college career.

Most notably, he was accused of sexually assaulting an FSU student in 2012. In December, a retired state Supreme Court justice retained by the university found Winston did not violate FSU’s student conduct code, after the Florida state attorney and the Tallahassee Police Department investigated the allegation and did not bring charges against him.

Winston also has garnered press for:

Taking crab legs from a store without paying, for which he received a civil citation.

Having a BB gun on campus.

Shouting an obscene phrase in the FSU student union, after which he was suspended for a game.

Asked about the allegations and how they could affect Winston’s draft status, Genske said, “What allegations? I am not aware of any allegations against Jameis Winston, at all.

“He was cleared by three separate governmental entities [after the sexual assault allegation]. If you are asking me about the allegations that are pending, I am not aware of anything that is pending.”

Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, might be seen as the most likely No. 1 pick rather than 2014 Heisman winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon were it not for the off-field incidents, said Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for CBS Sports. Winston is a more pro-ready player than Mariota, Rang said. “Winston is the best pocket passer in the draft,” he said.

Genske said it was premature to predict where Winston will be drafted. “He is certainly somebody under consideration for that No. 1 overall pick,” Genske said. “The NFL teams will have to weigh in on this.”

Winston played both football and baseball at FSU, and Genske and Felder met him when he was in high school and advised him on his baseball career. Winston, a pitcher, was drafted out of high school by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round of the 2012 MLB draft, but did not sign.

TLA is known as a baseball firm, and Genske and Felder are known as baseball agents. Their clients include Houston Astros top prospect Carlos Correa, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 MLB draft, and Astros outfielder George Springer. Genske has negotiated $2 billion in contracts since he became a sports agent in 2004, and negotiated record deals for Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia, a former client.

Both Genske and Felder were certified by the NFL Players Association in 2014, but their history, as well as the history of the agency in football, goes back further than that. Felder was NFLPA certified from 2000 to 2002. Genske was NFLPA certified from 2004 to 2012, and among the deals he negotiated were former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed’s six-year, $40 million contract in 2006.

As a trial lawyer, Genske was part of the team representing the former Steinberg & Moorad firm in a lawsuit against its former partner David Dunn, who is now CEO of Athletes First. The jury delivered a $44 million judgment against Dunn and Athletes First in 2002, but it was overturned on appeal in 2005.

Scott Parker, an NFL and MLB agent who started his career at the former Steinberg & Moorad and is now a partner at TLA, also will be involved in representing Winston. Parker has been NFLPA certified since 1992.

“We have a rich history of representing great players in the NFL and a lot of great contracts, so this is nothing new for us,” Genske said.

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