Viewing 28 reply threads

  • Author

    Posts

    • michael89156

      Participant
      Post count: 3229

      Meet the 33-year-old agent behind 'Johnny Football' April 17, 2014 2:04 PM EDTBy Mark Burns  The Sporting News RSS free_zpsd01b8973.jpgHe received 112 marketing, business and media inquiries following the signing of his most high-profile client. That was Day 1 for sports agent Erik Burkhardt.“It was absolutely crazy and unrelenting, but we respect and appreciate every request,” Burkhardt said.Since his signing of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel in early January, everything has slightly calmed down for the St. Thomas law school graduate. Last Tuesday, Burkhardt laughed that he "only" received about a dozen requests via email and phone for Manziel that day. A current NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor with Houston-based Select Sports Group, Burkhardt always had multiple career interests growing up besides the sports agency industry. The selling point came when a few college buddies at Texas Tech University asked for assistance in their agent selection process. He appreciated how the business presented the opportunity to help positively change young men’s lives and potentially impact thousands of others through working with professional athletes. And yes, despite receiving the run-of-the-mill advice to stray away from the shady and unpredictable business, Burkhardt jumped in at 24 years old and founded Burkhardt Sports Enterprises.“I was always told, “You’ll never do this. You’ll never make it. You’ll never do that. Pick another profession. It’s impossible to break into’. …Everybody thinks they want to be a sports agent, and that’s great, but I always felt like making the sacrifices and paying your dues is what separates all successful careers,” he said. “I just kept following my passion and what I believed in for myself and my clients. I would never take ‘no’ for an answer.” With the skill-set he already possessed and the information he obtained from his core law school classes, he went on the recruiting trail midway through his first year of law school while also pursuing a Master's degree in Sports Administration.Select Sports Group client Josh Freemanfree2_zps7d1826a0.jpgfree1_zps2fa809a3.gif“I was basically a guy with a cell phone and a business card, but at the same time, I was a double full-time graduate student,” Burkhardt said. “I took notice of everybody who laughed or rolled their eyes when they found out I was a 24-year-old certified agent while in law school and taking Master's classes. I’m pretty sure even some members of my immediate family thought my vision and ambition was crazy those first couple of years. I called seemingly every agent in the business looking for any guidance or advice they would offer. They all laughed and hung up the phone on me. I still use those memories as motivation to go above and beyond for my clients and ensure they get a level of service that I know those other agents will not provide.” Being fully entrenched in the business was as much a learning experience as reading any casebook or writing for a law school journal. His unique law school experience involved operating Burkhardt Sports on a “shoestring student-loan financed” budget as he established the agency.“I was on fumes at times,” Burkhardt said of his years spent in graduate school. “I’d get my case law reading done on planes, trains and in airports—whatever it took. There was very little sleep and I had to eat Ramen noodles at night so that my clients could eat well while they trained for the draft. It was rough. But at its core, that’s what this business is all about. To this day, I don’t know how I made it through those early years. I guess I just wouldn’t be denied the opportunity to help these guys.”Fast forward almost a decade to Burkhardt merging with Select Sports Group a few years ago and now representing Johnny Manziel, arguably the most watched and scrutinized athlete in America. Burkhardt will handle four other major prospects in May's NFL Draft, but the level of attention needed to manage Manziel is a full-time job in itself. LeBron James’s marketing agent, Maverick Carter, has teamed up with Fenway Sports Group to work on the endorsement side of Manziel’s business ventures. So far, Manziel’s team has negotiated the largest rookie trading card deals ever and secured a partnership with one of the world’s most valuable brands, McDonald’s.jff_zps1f49bd25.jpgJohnny Manziel (AP Photo)Burkhardt noted the importance of knowing his clients and understanding what makes them tick so that he can set them up for success based on who they are, both on and off the field. It is a mantra that was on full display at Manziel’s Pro Day two weeks ago, where Manziel competed in full pads, a first for NFL quarterback prospects. So, really why the pads, then? According to Burkhardt, wearing just gym shorts and a T-shirt would not have been competitive enough for Manziel. It would not get “the juices going,” so to speak.“Maybe some older traditional agents might have been a little scared to do that. If not, they would have already done it by now. ” Burkhardt said of the unconventional Pro Day. “It’s a big risk if you look at it that way. Anybody who has ever put on shoulder pads and rib cage armor understands the throwing range of motion differences as compared to just a T-shirt. Plus the vision and heat involved with working out in a helmet as opposed to without one is significant. But I recommended that we do that because I know my client and I knew he would rise to the challenge. That’s what Johnny does. If that didn’t go well, then that’s going to be egg on my face. It’s going to be, ‘Who the hell advised Johnny to wear pads?! No one expects him to wear pads. Why would you make it harder on him?!’ “I don’t live in fear about what people may think of me or the tough decisions we have to make together,” he added. “It’s really all about my clients and what’s in their best interest.”With the information he had obtained from NFL General Managers, scouts and player personnel about his client, Burkhardt collaborated with well-known quarterback coach, George Whitfield, to plan every single detail of the Pro Day "script." It is a plan that had been put in place well before even the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.“Let’s make it as intense and challenging as freaking possible because we know we have the best quarterback in this draft,” Burkhardt told Whitfield of the Pro Day plan. “We know we have the strongest arm in this draft. We know we have the biggest playmaker in this draft, who also played in the best conference in America, against real defenses. We know Johnny throws the best deep ball and he can throw it better on the run then these other QBs can standing in the pocket ... ”Manziel dominated as he completed 64 of 66 passes in front of 75-plus NFL scouts, even with Whitfield at times swiping at Manziel's feet with a broom to simulate a rushing attack. It's the type of training Manziel has been regularly conducting on the sandy beaches of southern California. “He wanted to win the Pro Day,” Burkhardt said. “Not only was his workout harder with more big boy throws, but we’re doing it in full pads. We’re doing it in front of former Presidents and everything else, under the microscope, going last. That’s how Johnny likes it. When the lights come on, he’s at his best and I wanted all of those coaches and team decision makers to see that.”In a month, Burkhardt will head to New York City for the NFL Draft. Between his partners at Select Sports Group and himself, they will represent eight prospective draftees. Since adding Manziel to his already extensive client roster that includes roughly 55 NFL guys, Burkhardt’s outlook on his career has remained relatively the same. He does not have a one, five, or 10-year plan, but instead, is focused on the present and being an advocate and resource for his clients.“At the end of the day, I simply want to help develop balanced and sustainable men of high character, who live up to their own expectations.”

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 391

      Well he is certainly confident…

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 2847

          LOL; now if that blonde had turned out to be Manziel’s agent…

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 38

      You can bet that every single owner in the league would take Manziel 1st overall. From a pure marketing standpoint, this Manziel is a goldmine that you just can't pass up. And he's skilled enough that he's worth the risk to take at #1.Houston won't take the risk of him going to another team and lighting it up. There's no way.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 8983

      The texans will probably trade down for pennies on the dollar this draft.The reason I say this is because the qb's will drop a little, and at 5 to 10 they could still pick up one AND acquire two more picks in a very deep draft.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 103

      So this is the same agent that ripped the Bucs about Freeman? Accused the Bucs of leaking info with no proof?

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 2775

      So this is the same agent that ripped the Bucs about Freeman? Accused the Bucs of leaking info with no proof?

      Damn, some of my "secret" info is getting out........... he's not coming to Tampa.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 6677

      So this is the same agent that ripped the Bucs about Freeman? Accused the Bucs of leaking info with no proof?

      it worked

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 10626

      You can bet that every single owner in the league would take Manziel 1st overall. From a pure marketing standpoint, this Manziel is a goldmine that you just can't pass up. And he's skilled enough that he's worth the risk to take at #1.Houston won't take the risk of him going to another team and lighting it up. There's no way.

      If all that mattered to owners, was jersey sales, than yes. But unfortunately, players have to have talent to match. Tebow is a good example.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 8983

      You can bet that every single owner in the league would take Manziel 1st overall. From a pure marketing standpoint, this Manziel is a goldmine that you just can't pass up. And he's skilled enough that he's worth the risk to take at #1.Houston won't take the risk of him going to another team and lighting it up. There's no way.

      If all that mattered to owners, was jersey sales, than yes. But unfortunately, players have to have talent to match. Tebow is a good example.

      I have to agree. Tebow was polarizing to a lot of people. That, and a wimpy arm and brain got him picked later. In the same token however, we can't say with 100 percent certainty, that's not what saves him from falling farther.I think it crosses gms and owners minds, but it's not a deciding factor. Some would say it's a bonus, but a qb HAS to have some substance. Stats, gametape, etc

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 11506

      This settles it ….stay away.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 8983

      This settles it ....stay away.

      Hardly. Manziel has the playmaking ability and brains to warrant that type of fame. He isn't trying to use some type of social platform either.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 1125

      Sapp’s agent was 29 when he was drafted.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 2775

      Manziel’s agent will be actively steering him away from Tampa.  My money is on the Cleveland Steamers grabbing Manziel.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 10626

      Manziel's agent will be actively steering him away from Tampa.  My money is on the Cleveland Steamers grabbing Manziel.

      How would his agent do that?  Its not like he is a free agent, and gets to pick his team. 

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 2775

      Manziel's agent will be actively steering him away from Tampa.  My money is on the Cleveland Steamers grabbing Manziel.

      How would his agent do that?  Its not like he is a free agent, and gets to pick his team.

      I understand but the agent serves as the mouthpiece for interest.  Teams want a marriage, meaning they want to know the guy they are drafting wants to be a part of their franchise.  Tampa and the league learned a valuable lesson when they drafted Bo Jackson.  If Manziel's agent has an influence you can only imagine that Tampa is towards the bottom of his list in terms of favorite franchises.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 10626

      Manziel's agent will be actively steering him away from Tampa.  My money is on the Cleveland Steamers grabbing Manziel.

      How would his agent do that?  Its not like he is a free agent, and gets to pick his team.

      I understand but the agent serves as the mouthpiece for interest.  Teams want a marriage, meaning they want to know the guy they are drafting wants to be a part of their franchise.  Tampa and the league learned a valuable lesson when they drafted Bo Jackson.  If Manziel's agent has an influence you can only imagine that Tampa is towards the bottom of his list in terms of favorite franchises.

      His favorite franchises?  Again, that means nothing. He will go to whoever drafts him. Do you really think if he didn't like a certain team, he would go play baseball or the CFL ?

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 2775

      Manziel's agent will be actively steering him away from Tampa.  My money is on the Cleveland Steamers grabbing Manziel.

      How would his agent do that?  Its not like he is a free agent, and gets to pick his team.

      I understand but the agent serves as the mouthpiece for interest.  Teams want a marriage, meaning they want to know the guy they are drafting wants to be a part of their franchise.  Tampa and the league learned a valuable lesson when they drafted Bo Jackson.  If Manziel's agent has an influence you can only imagine that Tampa is towards the bottom of his list in terms of favorite franchises.

      His favorite franchises?  Again, that means nothing. He will go to whoever drafts him. Do you really think if he didn't like a certain team, he would go play baseball or the CFL ?

      I think you are downplaying the role of the agent a little too much.  I realize he's not a two sport athlete I just think in some cases agents will make a franchise turn away from a player more often then you think.  Nothing to worry about on our end anyway, Cleveland is going to grab JFF.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 10626

      I think you are downplaying the role of the agent

      LOLDude, my dad is a NFL agent. I should say sports agent, because they rep athletes from all the sports.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 2775

      I think you are downplaying the role of the agent

      LOLDude, my dad is a NFL agent. I should say sports agent, because they rep athletes from all the sports.

      Awesome, then you know that they talk to teams all of the time prior to the draft.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 10626

      I think you are downplaying the role of the agent

      LOLDude, my dad is a NFL agent. I should say sports agent, because they rep athletes from all the sports.

      Awesome, then you know that they talk to teams all of the time prior to the draft.

      And if the agent didn't like what a team has to say, then what?  That is my point, in your first NFL contract you have zero options. 

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 2775

      Im just saying that ideally both the player and the team are on the same page. I’m not saying the player has a choice I just think the more harmony the two have pre-draft, the more likely a team is to draft that player – all other things being equal.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 10626

      Im just saying that ideally both the player and the team are on the same page. I'm not saying the player has a choice I just think the more harmony the two have pre-draft, the more likely a team is to draft that player - all other things being equal.

      Your way off.  Its not a parent interviewing their child's prospective kindergarden teacher.  Where they can just go somewhere else, if the interview felt a little cold.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 38

      Im just saying that ideally both the player and the team are on the same page. I'm not saying the player has a choice I just think the more harmony the two have pre-draft, the more likely a team is to draft that player - all other things being equal.

      Your way off.  Its not a parent interviewing their child's prospective kindergarden teacher.  Where they can just go somewhere else, if the interview felt a little cold.

      I had the same thought as 10lbbass but sounds like you got some inside info so I take your point.But then again, if Burkhardt pissed off the Glazers enough during the whole Freeman saga then I could see them wanting to steer clear of one of his clients in the future. And vice versa...

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 10626

      Im just saying that ideally both the player and the team are on the same page. I'm not saying the player has a choice I just think the more harmony the two have pre-draft, the more likely a team is to draft that player - all other things being equal.

      Your way off.  Its not a parent interviewing their child's prospective kindergarden teacher.  Where they can just go somewhere else, if the interview felt a little cold.

      I had the same thought as 10lbbass but sounds like you got some inside info so I take your point.But then again, if Burkhardt pissed off the Glazers enough during the whole Freeman saga then I could see them wanting to steer clear of one of his clients in the future. And vice versa...

      His agent would have zero contact with the front office after his player is drafted. For 4-5 years anyway.  Four at least, then the team could pick up the 5th year option, if they so desire.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 9128

      That has to be pretty cool Anti-Java. I’m sure your Dad has some stories.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 10626

      That has to be pretty cool Anti-Java. I'm sure your Dad has some stories.

      He does, and I have posted a few here.  Between his 8-9 year NFL career, and now being partners in a Sports Agency for the last few years, he has some interesting takes.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 9128

      That has to be pretty cool Anti-Java. I'm sure your Dad has some stories.

      He does, and I have posted a few here.  Between his 8-9 year NFL career, and now being partners in a Sports Agency for the last few years, he has some interesting takes.

      Sounds good. When I get the time, I'll have to search for some of those threads.

      Please wait…

    • Anonymous

      Inactive
      Post count: 10626

      That has to be pretty cool Anti-Java. I'm sure your Dad has some stories.

      He does, and I have posted a few here.  Between his 8-9 year NFL career, and now being partners in a Sports Agency for the last few years, he has some interesting takes.

      Sounds good. When I get the time, I'll have to search for some of those threads.

      He is a huge Buc fan. He does post here also on a daily basis, but not much opinion stuff.  He feels that is the best way for him to contribute.  The only times he doesn't post, is when he goes to the combine and the draft.  Then I get stuck manning the office phones.  Ugh

      Please wait…

Viewing 28 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.