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Andre Johnson Relying On Uncle For Advice

That same uncle seems to have authority of advisor in Andre Johnson‘s most recent contract negotiations.  The problem is that uncle Johnson is not certified by the NFLPA and thus does not have authority to directly negotiate with any NFL organization.  If the rules are adhered to, that means that Andre Johnson must do all the talking himself.  That’s a tough thing to do when you have five years remaining on your current contract and you are (at least should be) spending most of your time every day building strength, practicing, and watching film, along with doing good for your community through philanthropic events/causes.  Not to mention, I think Johnson also wants to use some of his free time to enjoy the money he is working so hard to earn.

If you are a four time Pro Bowler who has led the NFL in receiving yards for the past two seasons, do you really want to skip on the 3% (maximum) agent fee?  Johnson is about to enter year four of an eight-year deal that was an extension of his rookie contract.  I don’t care how good Johnson is, he could use the help of an experienced negotiator in trying to work out a new deal under his current constraints.

This post is not about whether or not Johnson deserves more money than what he is due to earn on his current contract.  It is about aligning yourself with the proper advisors when entering such important discussions.  You would think that Johnson learned the first time around.

Do not confuse Johnson’s situation with that of Mark Sanchez, who hired his brother, a business litigator with a firm who was certified by the NFLPA and also involved Athletes First in negotiations.  I was even a little skeptical of that decision at first, but it in no way compares to Johnson’s decision to have his non-licensed uncle serve as his advisor.

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.