The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


May 7, 2014

Before the NFL calls, agents vie for rookies


That means watching a lot of film for Linta, who has coaching experience. In turn, Linta said he's up front with his prospective rookies about the need to watch film with him.

If Linta notices a mistake, he said he tells the player "what they did wrong ... I'd rather lose him by being honest than being deceptive by giving him false hope." Linta is a 21-year veteran of the business whose best-known client is Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who got a huge contract after playing out the final year of his deal in 2012 — and leading Baltimore to a Super Bowl title.

FINDING A NICHE: There are guys like Kevin Gold, an attorney from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania who has developed what he calls a niche of representing long snappers.

"Unfortunately, it takes an absolute catastrophe for a team to recognize the importance of a snapper," said Gold, a self-described "small agent" with four active clients. "The advantage of long snappers, if they can make it, they can stay in the league 10-12 years."

Gold's career as an agent began about 20 years ago at a food court. He had recently graduated from law school when an acquaintance connected him with then-Shippensburg player Rob Davis, a long snapper. They first met at a mall.

Davis ended up with a nice 11-year run snapping for the Packers that ended in 2007. Gold said snappers now reach out to him, and Gold even has a website all about the art of long-snapping.

CHARACTER COUNTS: The increased emphasis teams say they are placing on any off-field player issues has trickled down to agents, too. It's in large part about economics with the stakes high in the profitable and image-conscious NFL.

"Teams don't want to spend millions of dollars (on players) who are a cancer in the locker room or self-destructive," Dunn said.

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