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On To The Next One: Victor Cruz

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz had the type of year that athletes dream about.  It was not a story that many surrounding the business of football could have ever imagined.  Cruz, undrafted in 2010 after graduating from the University of Massachusetts, broke the former New York Giants single-season receiving yards record, racking up a total of 1,536 in 2011.  His stellar 2011 campaign, which included leading the New York Giants to a Super Bowl victory, caught everyone’s attention, including many NFLPA Contract Advisors who may have glossed over him when he was departing UMass.

Cruz’s first agent was Abu Toppin of Reliance Sports Management (RSM).  Toppin was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, which is also the home of his agency.  It is likely that Toppin used his location to his advantage when recruiting Cruz to become a client.  Unfortunately for Toppin, the relationship was short-lived.

This year, Cruz fired RSM and only recently hired a new agent – Malik Shareef of Roanoke, Virginia.  Shareef jumped onto the scene when he signed former University of Florida and current Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden.  Not bad when your first NFL client just happens to be the #7 overall pick in the NFL Draft.  However, Shareef and Haden parted ways; Haden has since signed with Drew Rosenhaus.  Shareef also represents 2011 NFL Draft picks Ryan Williams (#38 overall taken by the Arizona Cardinals) and Rashad Carmichael (#127 overall taken by the Houston Texans).  But the biggest name Shareef client is now undoubtedly Victor Cruz.

Shareef will strictly be Cruz’s NFLPA Contract Advisor.  Cruz has retained IMG Worldwide to handle his off-the-field opportunities.

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.

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