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Even Daunte Culpepper Needs Help

It’s been a nice run for Daunte Culpepper.  Or has it?  Culpepper has long subscribed to a policy of negotiating his own contracts, talking to NFL teams on his own behalf, and keeping the 1-3% he would have otherwise payed an NFLPA agent.  It was almost three years ago when I claimed that Culpepper could use an agent.  At the time, he was with the Dolphins, but was more busy running his mouth to the media than attempting to show his skill on the field, which would have possibly prevented him from ending up in a trade.

Then, in September of 2008, Culpepper decided that he was going to retire from football.  Well, that didn’t exactly work according to plan…but it was definitely something that once again could have been held from the media. contributor, Dominic Perilli, said it best back in 2008, when he stated,

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.

Culpepper started 5 games for the Detroit Lions in 2008 and another 5 games for the Lions in 2009, and he does not want to start 5 games again in 2010.  But this time, perhaps, Culpepper has warmed up to the idea of at least having someone experienced in NFL matters help him with the process of finding a good fit.

That man is David Cornwell, whose law firm, DNK Cornwell, has the tagline, Premier Legal Resource for Sports Agents and the Men & Women Who Play Professional Sports.  Cornwell lists his expertise in law, negotiations, marketing & licensing, corporate management, and media.  Culpepper could probably benefit from most of those services.  Some other notes about Cornwell: He has served as the primary counsel for Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints), Gilbert Arenas (Washington Wizards), Michael Beasley (Miami Heat), and Darren McFadden, and he also used to be the primary counsel for sports agents Leigh Steinberg, Jeff Moorad, Eugene Parker, Dan Fegan, and Michael Gillis.

Culpepper says that he will still negotiate his own contracts, but will retain Cornwell as an advisor.  Whatever the case may be, I believe this is a step in the right direction for Culpepper.  This should have been done years ago.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

6 replies on “Even Daunte Culpepper Needs Help”

No one should question Mr. Daunte Culpepper’s ability to negotiate his own contracts, when the confidential information regarding the negotiating process between him and the various NFL teams he played quarterback for is filtered. The allowable information comes by way of various media outlets, for which the length of the contract and the salary total are vaguely given.

Mr. Daunte Culpepper does a good “job” at “running his mouth” due to the scope of validity that comes out of his mouth when negotiating six to seven figure contracts, which leads him to be able to have the prosperous-option to retire and live comfortably.

The above quote is not completely closed-off with a ending quotation mark, which leads me to believe this article is more about some inverse way to promote the advisor to be than to uphold Mr. Daunte Culpepper’s fortitude to have the courage and ability to negotiate his own contract. Mr. Daunte Culpepper has always been able to effectively articulate the reasons why he is a good quarterback to the media with excellent communication skills, ever since his youthful days at the University of Central Florida.

I hope it is clear Darren has no vested interest in Mr. Cornwell. He is merely advocating the strength of having counsel and an advisor.

We (myself included) feel having counsel serves an important purpose — allowing the player to focus on his abilities as opposed to worrying about researching contract trends, escalator clauses, and roster bonuses. Fact is you pay agents/attorneys/stock brokers/accountant/etc. to use their knowledge, training, most importantly TIME to maximize your earning potential while you practice or train or get better at your career.

Thats not to say it cant be done by an athlete, but they probably dont have the time to spend doing the legwork those other professionals can offer.

Excluding yourself, how many people are included in the “we” and what are their names?

Mr. Darren Heitner is the author of article whose subject is about Daunte Culpepper. The mere notion of promotion within my comment came by way of the elongated paragraph detailing Mr. David Cornell’s areas of expertise and previous experience advising other professional athletes.

Dispelling the efficient option of paying professionals (i.e, agents, attorneys, stock brokers, accountants) to maximize a client’s earning potential is absurdly unreasonable.

The mere implying that an athlete can not effectively handle those tasks in a proficient manner from the years of a college education is timely unreasonable for anyone to consider.

I never made a blank statement that there is no athlete who cannot effectively and intelligently negotiate his own contracts, run his own PR platforms, manage his own finances, search for available marketing and endorsement opportunities, etc.

I did; however, say that I think Culpepper would have benefitted throughout his career had he employed some help.

As far as Cornwell is concerned, I was merely trying to give readers some background info on the person Culpepper hired.

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