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Volume 23 No. 13
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After certification setback, NFL agent Gilmore ready to get back into game

This past year has been one of the toughest in Deryk Gilmore’s life, but he is certified by the NFL Players Association again, and ready to get his clients back.

He will be eligible to start representing clients in NFL contract talks starting this week, after a year of being suspended for failing a new, controversial testing procedure the NFLPA instituted last year.  

“I am back in business,” he said last week, adding that he couldn’t have done it without the support of good people and his faith. “When you’re facing obstacles, remember that when God closes a door, he opens another one, even if it’s hell in the hallway.” 

Gilmore was arguably the best-known and most successful of 16 veteran agents who were suspended as a result of the new procedure, and it surprised many in the industry. Gilmore represented multiple first-round picks and had just negotiated an $82.5 million contract for Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, which made him the second highest-paid player at his position. 

Deryk Gilmore is joined by players Elandon Roberts (left) and Shaq Mason.
Photo: amanda white
Deryk Gilmore is joined by players Elandon Roberts (left) and Shaq Mason.
Photo: amanda white
Deryk Gilmore is joined by players Elandon Roberts (left) and Shaq Mason.
Photo: amanda white

The new NFLPA procedure requires certified agents to take an online test every two years. If they fail it, they must take a longer test in person with new, prospective agents. Agents objected to it on many grounds, including that they had already taken the longer, in-person test to get certified in the first place. 

Under union rules, Gilmore was suspended for one year. He was recertified after retaking and passing the test this summer. He was due to be reinstated on Sept. 13.  

Gilmore first took the test in 2006, when he started his career as an agent at Priority Sports & Entertainment. He opened his own firm, Day 1 Sports & Entertainment, in 2017. 

Prior to his suspension, Gilmore represented or co-represented about 22 players in the league, and of those, about five signed with other agents. The others did not leave. 

When an agent is suspended, the contracts between the agent and players are voided. Gilmore will have to re-sign players, but said he is confident he will get many of them back. “I am not going to say who or when, but I am very comfortable,” he said.

He was not so comfortable a year ago. “When I received the news on failing the online agent exam by one question, I was angry at the world,” he said. “My faith was challenged and my future was in doubt.”

Gilmore had an especially bad year in 2018, as he lost his mother after a long illness that January.

When news of Gilmore’s suspension broke, some rival agents tried and succeeded in signing Gilmore’s clients. But other player clients stayed and rallied around Gilmore, as did, to his surprise, some rival NFL agents. Many offered encouragement.

Gilmore played nose tackle on the Penn State team that won the 1986 national championship. He coached at Illinois and Oregon. He has an MBA in finance and operations. He worked hard and was ultra-prepared for the test, but he said his faith is what ultimately pulled him through.

“There are so many people who are going through depression, going through hard times and I just want to say, ‘You’ve got to have faith.’”

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