Rolle's Take: The Art & Science of Selecting an Agent for the NFL

By Brian Rolle on January 30, 2016 at 8:40 am
Brian Rolle at the 2011 East-West Shrine Game
Justin Dernier/Icon Sportswire

Previously I provided insight on what bowl preparation was all about, and what players did leading up to the bowl game but soon thereafter juniors and seniors that choose to make themselves eligible for the NFL draft have to start the Agent interviewing process.

For me, after defeating Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl, I contacted some of my older Buckeye brothers – James Laurinaitis and Larry Grant – to ask for advice on how they chose their agent. James talked to me about making sure I found someone who would work their hardest for me, someone who would invest time in making sure I was in the best situation to be drafted. Furthermore, talking with Larry Grant he reminded me that it’s just like recruiting all over again; its fun, I have the opportunity to interview who I wanted to represent me and the ball was in my court.

Some other tips that I gained were one, ask your potential agent how many clients he manages, so I know that if I need my agent for any reason I can contact him and he would be available and not be in a tug of war match between clients. Secondly, not only ask how many clients the agent represents, but who are his clients. Doing this allowed me to assess whether I was just a number and whether my potential agent has built a clientele base with individuals who were of high caliber and who were successful. Third and to me most importantly, I was advised to ask my agent about the training process and what his suggestions for me would be.

I knew that I wanted to train at Ohio State with the strength staff I knew and who knew me and how to get the best out of me, but the purpose of asking my potential agent about what he thinks was for the fact that being from Florida if I wanted to train in Tampa or Miami for a month or so he would have the right connections to make that happen.

So after talking to my “brothers” and gaining insight on the whole process, I was connected with an agent out of New York who was fairly new to the business but I felt it was worth a shot at interviewing him in hopes of finding someone to represent me. I wasn’t overly fond of my two day interview with this particular individual, my main concern as I reflected on our meetings was that I felt like some sort of trial program that if things went well then great, but if it didn’t then there was no telling as to where things could lead as far as me joining an NFL team.

“Unfortunately, the agent couldn’t definitively say how that process worked.”

What I mean by my last statement is that I asked questions about if I wasn’t drafted. How did free agency work for undrafted free agents? Unfortunately, the agent couldn’t definitively say how that process worked.

For me, going undrafted was a real life possibility so I wanted to know if I wasn't then what would the process being as far as trying out for a potential team?  Furthermore, I remember calling Larry Grant a couple days after interviewing the agent from New York and letting him know I was no closer to finding an agent than the first time we had spoken. Larry proceeded to ask if I minded if he passed my number on to his agent and of course I said that was fine. 

A day or so had passed and I received a call from Andy Simms from Players Rep out of Cleveland and I was ecstatic. Speaking with Andy on the phone was great. He really just introduced himself to me and his partner at the time and went over what services they offered. Then we scheduled a date and time for them to visit my on campus apartment for a sit down talk.

A few days later Andy and his partner, Nate Haber, arrived and the process began. I remember Andy telling me that he doesn’t promise his clients anything, and he was interested in great people to represent and that was what Players Rep was about. Moreover, I asked the two of them about my possible interest of training in Florida being that I am from there and they both mentioned that a lot of their guys that lived up north would train down south (obviously due to the ability to train outdoors in the sun as opposed to always being in doors during the months leading up to the combine and pro day).

One important thing for me was to have my college roommate who is one of my dear friends meet Andy and Nate because I value his opinion and he is similar to me and I wanted to make sure he had the same good vibe that I did. After days of careful thought and deliberation with my roommate, I came to the conclusion that Players Rep was a family that I wanted to be a part of, so I called Andy.

It took maybe two days for Andy and Nate to get what they needed together for me to sign and make our business relationship official. After I signed with Andy, we talked about how and where I would be training for the upcoming NFL combine as well as our Pro Day. Knowing that I was training in Columbus, Andy and Nate made sure I was well equipped for my training by talking with my strength coach and getting a supplement plan as well as a diet in place that would allow me to perform at my best in Indianapolis.

Brian Rolle was a two-year starter for Ohio State at linebacker, finishing his career in 2010 as a team captain and earning First Team All-Big Ten honors after leading the team in tackles.

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