June 19, 2018

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2018 Case Study: Chris Chapman
Neil's brief primer: Chris was a varsity athlete in college, playing tennis at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, before attending law school at Whittier in Costa Mesa, Calif. An attorney for well over a decade, Chris, 39, had been nursing an urge to get NFLPA certification for years. He finally "took the plunge" and sat for the exam last summer, then got certified last fall.
Active NFL clients: Houston DE Nick Thurman attended a rookie tryout with the Raiders but was passed over. He then went to minicamp with the Texans the following weekend and was offered a UDFA deal.
Why did he become an agent?: "Football players, in my opinion, are some of the most underrepresented athletes in the world. The odds are stacked against them, and the owners have all the power. I love football as a fan, and I was hoping that being an agent wouldn't cloud my view of the game, and it hasn't. For me, it's an industry I thought I'd like to help, so I thought, these are the athletes that needed it the most. A lot of these agents have never stepped into a courtroom so I provide that expertise."
Day job: Associate practicing real estate litigation with the BDF Law Group, based in Diamond Bar, Calif.
His take on the NFLPA exam: "It was tricky. There was a lot of math. It wasn't a problem, but managing the time and the math, they kinda crunch your time based on the math equations. It's not difficult, but it takes time, and there's not much time to look stuff up. You have to be really organized. Usually you can narrow it down to two answers, but it's tricky, and they try to trip you up. If you're not organized it's to your detriment."
Hardest part of being an agent: "A lot of the unknowns. You don't know what teams think about your guy, and the financial aspect is stressful. You have all this money going out in Feb and March, and you might not see money until September. There's also the travel. I was traveling a lot during recruiting, and I didn't realize how much would be during the holidays."
He felt like he'd had a successful first year as a contract advisor when . . .: "(I had) a player sign to a team. It makes you feel more legitimate for sure, and I think it will help open more doors for interviews next season. Last year, they'd ask who we represent, and I had to say, 'nobody.'"
Lesson he learned that he wished he's known before he got certified: (laughs) "There were a lotta lessons, actually. Maybe a little more of the cost involved. The registering with different states, the travel, the training, the food, the miscellaneous, and these training places that have add-ons. You have an idea, but until you're paying the bills, then you know. When you get a credit card bill for $19,000, then you know."

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Sincerely, Neil Stratton
Inside the League

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