June 18, 2018

This email is directed at any NFLPA-certified contract advisor interested in how the NFL draft works as well as the months leading up to the draft. Note: We are not endorsed, sponsored, or otherwise affiliated with the NFLPA.
2018 Case Study: Sam Spina
Neil's brief primer: In 2014, Sam moved to South Florida and poured all his efforts into volunteering with former Dolphins DE Jason Taylor's foundation, which happened to share an office with Neostar Sports, a marketing agency that represents Dan Marino. Sam volunteered at Marino's appearances before finally telling Neostar owner Ralph Stringer that he wanted to work for him. When told there were no vacancies, Sam returned early the next day and moved all his stuff into Neostar's offices anyway. When Stringer arrived, Sam was answering phones and taking messages.That led to a job with Neostar that opened enough doors that, after completing law school at St. Thomas, he took the NFLPA exam, passing on the first try last summer.
Active NFL clients: Cincinnati OT Kendall Calhoun signed with the Texans after a rookie tryout, as did California (PA) TE Paul Butler, who signed with the Raiders after a rookie tryout. Butler attended Steelers minicamp last year with another agent (who fired him after he went unsigned), then played for the Spring League, where he caught the eye of Raiders scouts.
Why did he become an agent?: "Because I wanted to help other people. I grew up in sports my whole life, and I've always been a fighter - I was actually a boxer prior to law school -- and I saw and read about people getting screwed over and someone wasn't there for them. A lot of people don't have that support system."
Day job: Director of Football at Neostar Sports & Entertainment. Here's more about Sam.
His take on the NFLPA exam: "I didn't think it was bad at all, and to be honest, I was also studying for the bar that I had two days after the exam. (The ITL) practice exam really helped me in terms of my preparation and my ability to answer the questions in a much faster time, and I'm not just saying that because I'm talking to you. When I was done taking the exam, I stood up and everyone was still sitting down and so I started looking at the test again to see if there was anything on the back or an essay question."
Hardest part of being an agent: "Probably just handling life outside of work, if you truly want to be successful. It requires a lot of time and travel. My work is my life and I love it. My father passed away last year, and I made a promise to him on his death bed that no one would ever outwork me."
He felt like he'd had a successful first year as a contract advisor when . . .: "I still think everything could have been better. We had guys make a roster . . . but we still have one guy that didn't make it. That one hurts."
Lesson he learned that he wished he's known before he got certified: "A lot of stuff with recruiting. A lot of little different things. You hear a lot of agents promising things and it's something you have to adjust to."

Inside The League is the consulting service for the football industry. We work with the contract advisors for about two-thirds of active NFL players as well as the combine trainers, financial planners, scouts, coaches and other pro league organizers that make up the game. Cost is $29.95/month, and you can cancel at any time. To register, click here. Also check out our new free blog, Succeed in Football. Copyright Neil Stratton and ITL.

Sincerely, Neil Stratton
Inside the League

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