Agents: They Ain't So Bad

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In a somewhat surprising move, journeyman Daunte Culpepper retired from the NFL today after having spent the offseason trying to land a starting job. Culpepper reportedly turned down one-year offers from both the Packers and Steelers (as a backup), instead insisting on a situation that would offer guaranteed playing time.

Culpepper was representing himself throughout this process, and whether he realizes it or not, that's why the moron's out of a fucking job. Say what you will about the Drew Rosenhauses and Scott Borases (woah, those are two names that look and sound weird when pluralized. Also: real jewey), when it comes to representing their clients' best interests, they don't fuck around. Though approaching teams without formal representation may have been an attempt to foster good will on Culpepper's part, the decision represents a greater problem - namely, that Culpepper didn't have anyone to balance out his own opinion and limited self-awareness.

One of an agent's most important duties (aside from getting as much guaranteed cash as possible, specifically in the NFL) is to keep the client aware of his true value. For better or worse, this can work both ways. With Rosenhaus and T.O., this meant creating a total shitstorm in Philadelphia over a perceived lack of respect. For Culpepper, it would have meant convincing the QB that a guaranteed starting job just wasn't available, and his best move would have been to take a backup role in a relatively shaky QB situation and make the best of the opportunity when it presented itself.

While this kind of brutal honesty about one's own abilities is no doubt difficult for a professional athlete, it's often a necessary bitter pill to swallow to get into a situation that best suits the player. For Culpepper, this could have meant being a backup in a place like Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers is the unquestioned starter but has extremely limited experience and questionable injury history or Atlanta, where a young QB is being thrown to the wolves in his rookie year. Those kinds of opportunities are what keep talented but flawed players in the league into their mid-30's, and it's a shame that Culpepper's ego wouldn't allow him to realize what's best for him.

I guess this whole post is motivated by the fact that I've always thought Culpepper was really talented and got kind of a raw deal due to injuries. More than anything, it's probably out of my own desire to see what such a physically gifted player could do with some veteran savvy and the right opportunity. Because of his stubborn and somewhat childish response to the whole situation, we'll never know.


Zuch 3:13 PM  

I'd be shocked if this sticks, after Culpepper's ego recovers and/or there's the usual ten QB's injured by week eight and he should have a good chance to get immediate PT.

I do agree that he had a helluva career going before tearing up his knee, and that he was more than just a QB propped up by the other worldly talents of Randy Moss.

Matt 3:16 PM  

Wait, wait wait. What do you mean "if" this sticks? He retired. That's it, end of discussion. Right?


Vinnie 1:35 AM  

I'm still not convinced that Jeff George is done.

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