It's only May, but Brady Quinn has narrowed his list of NFL agents to a nice, tidy six.
If that seems early, you're right, but we are dealing with the most hyped Notre Dame quarterback in years. That's the point of "Team Quinn," family members who are helping expedite the process ... which is to eliminate a distraction for the most hyped Notre Dame quarterback in years.
|Coach Charlie Weis has been a valuable asset to Brady Quinn and other potential Irish draftees. (Getty Images)|
The family spent May 11-12 interviewing prospective representatives in Columbus, Ohio. Thirteen agents, a marketing specialist and an attorney each got an hour to make their pitch.
Quinn's uncle, David Slates, told CBS SportsLine.com that the six "winners" will be notified Tuesday. Team Quinn cross-checked the representatives with the NFLPA and received favorable feedback on each.
Among the 15 representatives interviewed, CBS SportsLine.com has learned, were Creative Artists Agency's Tom Condon, veteran NFL agent Mark Bartelstein and Bill Henkel, a marketing specialist who left IMG's football division in November to form his own company.
It is not known if IMG, a giant in the profession when Condon headed it, was involved.
"The guys that we're down to now are guys that have been there and done that," said Slates, a vice president for UBS Financial Services. "I'm sure that they weren't thrilled with the process because we didn't give them a lot of time. They want more time, they want to build relationships."
Quinn, a senior, is not allowed to sign with an agent until his eligibility is exhausted. But, per NCAA rules, the family can interview prospective representatives.
Team Quinn is roughly defined as Slates, another uncle Scott Bender, described as a venture capitalist, and Quinn's parents Ty and Robin. Oh, and of course Brady, who will make the final decision.
"I've told this to all the agents (because) they're still trying to sell the family," Slates said. "This isn't going to be Brady's mom's decision. This won't be Scott Bender's decision. It's going to be Brady's decision."
Quinn is projected as a first-round draft choice in next April's draft. He might have gone that early had he decided to make himself eligible for this year's draft.
Quinn decided to come back as a senior to pursue both a national championship and dual degrees in finance and political science. At some point, he would like to earn a law degree as well, whether that is during or after an NFL career.
A May 30 cut deadline for agents is one of the "earlier" cutdown dates for a prospective high draft choice, according to one of the representatives interviewed by the family.
"It's one of the more impressive organizations I've seen," the agent said of the family.
Understandably, coach Charlie Weis has had a big influence on the process. It is in his best interest to eliminate distractions before the season. Notre Dame is expected to be ranked in the preseason top 10.
"I don't think Coach Weis would mind me saying it ..." Slates said. "(He wants to) make sure that Brady doesn't get a guy that makes the process about the agent.
"At least we can narrow it down so at least we can tell everyone else to bug off. Coach Weis wants Brady to focus so he's not getting calls from Joe Schmo agent."
Weis already has addressed all of his draft-eligible players.
"Obviously they have a resource which they didn't have before," Weis said of himself.
During an interview earlier this month, Quinn, 21, revealed how hard it is getting to dismiss those distractions. Upon moving out of his dorm earlier this year, he found 50 or 60 footballs in the hall ready to be signed. Autograph hounds have doggedly pursued him to the point that Weis has recommended that Quinn personalize each autograph to lower its selling value.
"There is a fair amount of intrusion," Slates said. "It's hard when we go out to dinner after the game. ... Inevitably, all it takes is one person to come up and ask for something. His whole dinner he's just signing autographs and taking pictures (with fans)."
Dennis Dodd is the winner of the All-American Football Foundation's Fred Russell Outstanding Sportswriter Award.