Daunte Culpepper announced on Wednesday morning that he would be retiring from football at the age of 31. Culpepper announced his decision in an e-mail stating:
“After taking a long look at my career and my personal convictions, I have decided to begin early retirement from the NFL effective immediately. Since the beginning of training camp, I was told my opportunity would come when a quarterback gets hurt. I cannot remember the last time so many quarterbacks have been injured during the preseason. I have been strongly encouraged from family, friends and league personnel to continue to be patient and wait for an inevitable injury to one of the starting quarterbacks in the league. I would rather shut the door to such ‘opportunity’ than continue to wait for one of my fellow quarterbacks to suffer a serious injury. Since I was not given a fair chance to come in and compete for a job, I would rather move on and win in other arenas of life”
Culpepper had one-year offers from the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers this off-season for backup jobs, but didn’t declined those offers. Culpepper, later in his career, decided to fire his agent and represent himself. Culpepper noted of this experience:
“The decision I made in 2006 to represent myself rather than hire an agent has been an invaluable experience. I now understand why so many people within the NFL community are uncomfortable with a player really learning the business. The NFL has become more about power, money and control than passion, competition and the love of the game.”
This decision caused a number of issues throughout for Culpepper and is one of the reasons he can not find a job in the NFL. Vikings coach Brad Childress compared his dealings with Culpepper with his dealings with Terrell Owens. He noted that every conversation he had with Culpepper involved his contract and getting more money. Culpepper eventually orchestrated a trade to the Miami Dolphins and in 2007, once again acting as his own agent, asked for his release from the Miami Dolphins.
The career of Daunte Culpepper is a prime example of how important an agent is to a professional athlete. Throughout Culpepper’s career, Daunte the agent got in the way of Daunte the quarterback. His focus was often on his contract and getting paid rather than going out there and playing football. In the end, Culpepper the agent overvalued Culpepper the player and he was unwilling to except a back up job. Take my word this won’t be the last we see of Daunte Culpepper. Maybe next time around he will wise up and hire an agent.