*Lights, Cameron, action: So what's Brett Favre up to these days, given that he has opted to retire, and that this time his departure from the game seems official? Well, one of the things occupying his time, besides riding the tractor around the farm in Hattiesburg, Miss., The Sports Xchange has learned, is the recruitment of Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. Word is that Newton's choice of agent representation is imminent - possibly as early as Friday - and that one of the finalists is Bus Cook, who represented Favre during his entire 20-year NFL career. Favre was part of the interview process when Newton met with Cook, and reportedly spent about 20 minutes talking with the Auburn star. It's a pretty good bet the two weren't swapping fishing tips. The other agents believed to still be in the hunt for Newton, as least as this was being written: Joel Segal, Peter Schaffer, and the newly-formed Pat Dye-Jimmy Sexton alliance. The representation for some of the other top quarterbacks in the 2011 draft: Both Blaine Gabbert of Missouri and Ryan Mallett of Arkansas are said to have hired Condon. And word is that David Dunn has landed Washington's Jake Locker. Condon, by the way, has represented five of the past seven No. 1 overall choices and five of the seven top quarterbacks chosen in the 2004-2010 drafts.
Agents using former or current players to help recruit new clients is hardly a new strategy. It is interesting that Cook is using Favre in this way, however. Favre is a superstar, an obvious first ballot Hall of Famer whose name and style of play is as recognizable as any in the history of the game. Unfortunately, his off-field actions have become just as consistent of a source of news as his play on the field recently.
As a prospective NFL quarterback with his own off-field concerns, Newton can relate, potentially making Favre a brilliant recruiting tool by Cook.
Despite what some may think, NFL teams don't typically put a great deal of thought into which agents players sign with. While certain agents are known in the scouting community as being particularly aggressive in their contract demands, trade requests and holdouts, most agents serve as little more than the link between the player and the team.
Newton's choice of agents, like those of the other top quarterbacks that Pasquarelli cites in his piece, make up some of the most successful companies in the industry -- and are counter to a odd year in which some of the biggest names in college football have opted to sign with lesser known agencies. Patrick Peterson and Nick Fairley, for example signed with Patrick Lawlor and Brian Overstreet, respectively, according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal.
Len Pasquarelli is a Senior NFL Writer for The Sports Xchange. He has covered the NFL for 33 years and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. His NFL coverage earned recognition as the winner of the McCann Award for distinguished reporting in 2008.
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