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Friday, April 14, 2006

Matt Leinart On The Switch From Leigh Steinberg "It's Something I Would Prefer To Discuss Next Week"

I saw this on Leinart's ESPN Draft Diary today.

"My focus is 100 percent on my visit with the Jets early next week. Reporters have been asking a lot of questions about my agent situation. It is a subject that I would prefer to discuss next week."

He also says that he was in Atlanta, where I told you he ran into his ex-girlfriend....

"Editor's note: Former USC QB Matt Leinart will offer ESPN.com an exclusive look into his life in the days and weeks leading up to the NFL draft (April 29-30).

I haven't been sleeping much with all of the travel this week.

Monday, I was in Atlanta appearing for a network. Eli Manning, Matt Hasselbeck and I were appearing there and signing autographs. We went out to dinner afterwards. Eli wasn't at dinner because he had to leave town, but we hung out a lot that day. It was my first time in Atlanta. I enjoyed it. My flight from L.A. to Atlanta left at 6 a.m. on Monday morning."

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock's Prospect List For the 2006 NFL Draft

(April 11, 2006) NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock has put together his positional rankings for the 2006 NFL Draft:


1. Jay Cutler, Vanderbilt
2. Matt Leinart, USC
3. Vince Young, Texas
4. Charlie Whitehurst, Clemson
5. Brodie Croyle, Alabama
6. Tarvaris Jackson, Alabama State

Reggie McNeal, Texas A&M
Omar Jacobs, Bowling Green

Brent Basanez, Northwestern
Darrell Hackney, Alabama-Birmingham
Ingle Martin, Furman
Barrick Nealy, Texas State
Michael Robinson, Penn State (slash)
D. J. Shockley, Georgia (slash)
Brad Smith, Missouri (slash)
Marcus Vick, Virginia Tech

Running Back

1. Reggie Bush, USC
2. Laurence Maroney, Minnesota
3. DeAngelo Williams, Memphis
4. LenDale White, USC
5. Joseph Addai, LSU
6. Brian Calhoun, Wisconsin
7. Maurice Drew, UCLA

P.J. Daniels, Georgia Tech
Andre Hall, South Florida
Jerome Harrison, Washington State
Taurean Henderson, Texas Tech
DonTrell Moore, New Mexico
Jerious Norwood, Mississippi State
Gerald Riggs, Tennessee
Lawrence Vickers, Colorado
Leon Washington, Florida State

Wide Receiver

1. Santonio Holmes, Ohio State
2. Chad Jackson, Florida
3. Sinorice Moss, Miami (FL)
4. Demetrius Williams, Oregon
5. Maurice Stovall, Notre Dame
6. Greg Jennings, Western Michigan
7. Brandon Marshall, Central Florida
8. Derek Hagan, Arizona State
9. Brandon Williams, Wisconsin

Jason Avant, Michigan
Hank Baskett, New Mexico
Will Blackmon, Boston College
Jeremy Bloom, Colorado
Skyler Green, LSU
Mike Hass, Oregon State
Martin Nance, Miami (OH)
Cory Rodgers, Texas Christian
Travis Wilson, Oklahoma

Tight End

1. Vernon Davis, Maryland
2. Marcedes Lewis, UCLA
3. Anthony Fasano, Notre Dame
4. Joe Klopfenstein, Colorado
5. David Thomas, Texas
6. Leonard Pope, Georgia
7. Dominique Byrd, USC

Owen Daniels, Wisconsin
Tim Day, Oregon
Garrett Mills, Tulsa
Tony Scheffler, Western Michigan
T.J. Williams, North Carolina State

Offensive Tackle

1. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Virginia
2. Winston Justice, USC
3. Eric Winston, Miami (FL)
4. Daryn Colledge, Boise State
5. Andrew Whitworth, LSU
6. Marcus McNeill, Auburn

Rashad Butler, Miami
Paul McQuistan, Weber State
Ryan OCallaghan, California
Jonathan Scott, Texas
Zach Strief, Northwestern
Jeremy Trueblood, Boston College

Interior Offensive Line

1. Nick Mangold, Ohio State (center)
2. Davin Joseph, Oklahoma (guard)
3. Max Jean-Gilles, Georgia (guard)
4. Deuce Lutui, USC (guard)
5. Chris Chester, Oklahoma (center)
6. Charles Spencer, Pittsburgh (guard)
7. Fred Matua, USC (guard)
8. Rob Sims, Ohio State (center)

Small Schools
Jahri Evans, Bloomsburg (PA) (guard)
Kevin Boothe, Cornell (guard)

Ryan Cook, New Mexico (center)
Greg Eslinger, Minnesota (center)
Pat Ross, Boston College (center)
Jason Spitz, Louisville (guard)

Defensive End

1. Mario Williams, NC State
2. Mathias Kiwanuka, Boston College
3. Daryl Tapp, Va Tech
4. Tamba Hali, Penn State
5. Manny Lawson, North Carolina State
6. Parys Haralson, Tennessee

Victor Adeyanju, Indiana
Mark Anderson, Alabama
Elvis Dumervil, Louisville
Ray Edwards, Purdue
Chris Gocong, Cal. State San Luis Obispo
Jason Hatcher, Grambling
Eric Henderson, Georgia Tech
Julian Jenkins, Stanford
Ryan LaCasse, Syracuse
Rob Ninkovich, Purdue
James Wyche, Syracuse

Defensive Tackle

1. Brodrick Bunkley, Florida St.
2. Haloti Ngata, Oregon
3. Claude Wroten, LSU
4. John McCargo, NC State
5. Gabe Watson, Michigan

Barry Cofield, Northwestern
Dusty Dvoracek, Oklahoma
Orien Harris, Miami (FL)
Johnny Jolly, Texas A&M
Johnathan Lewis, Virginia Tech
Jesse Mahelona, Tennessee
Babatunde Oshinowo, Stanford
Montavious Stanley, Louisville
Kyle Williams, LSU
Rodrique Wright, Texas


1. A.J. Hawk, Ohio State
2. Ernie Sims, Florida St.
3. Chad Greenway, Iowa
4. Kamerion Wimbley, Florida St. (OLB)
5. D'Qwell Jackson, Maryland
6. Rocky McIntosh, Miami (FL)
7. DeMeco Ryans, Alabama
8. Bobby Carpenter, Ohio State

Jon Alston, Stanford
Omar Gaither, Tennessee
Abdul Hodge, Iowa
Thomas Howard, UTEP
Clint Ingram, Oklahoma
Brian Iwuh, Colorado
A.J. Nicholson, Florida State
Kai Parham, Virginia
Freddie Roach, Alabama
Dale Robinson, Arizona State
Gerris Wilkinson, Georgia Tech


1. Michael Huff, Texas
2. Jonathan Joseph, South Carolina
3. Tye Hill, Clemson
4. Antonio Cromartie, Florida State
5. Jimmy Williams, Virginia Tech
6. Kelly Jennings, Miami (FL)
7. Richard Marshall, Fresno State

Antoine Bethea, Howard
Will Blackmon, Boston College
Charles Gordon, Kansas
Cedric Griffin, Texas
Devin Hester, Miami (FL)
Marcus Hudson, North Carolina State
Darrell Hunter, Miami (OH)
Tim Jennings, Georgia
Danieal Manning, Abilene Christian
Marcus Maxey, Miami (FL)
DeMario Minter, Georgia
Anwar Phillips, Penn State
David Pittman, Northwestern State
Dee Webb, Florida
Ashton Youboty, Ohio State
Alan Zemaitis, Penn State


1. Jason Allen, Tennessee
2. Donte Whitner, Ohio State
3. Daniel Bullocks, Nebraska
4. Anthony Smith, Syracuse
5. Darnell Bing, USC
6. Ko Simpson, South Carolina
7. Roman Harper, Alabama

Others :
Greg Blue, Georgia
Tra Boger, Tulane
Reed Doughty, Northern Colorado
Dawan Landry, Georgia Tech
Calvin Lowry, Penn State
Bernard Pollard, Purdue
Dwayne Slay, Texas Tech
Scott Ware, USC
Pat Watkins, Florida State

Colts' Best Bet: UCLA's Maurice Drew - Reggie Bush's Key Rival

If the Indianapolis Colts -- in search of a running back to take over for the departed-for-Arizona Edgerrin James -- are concerned that they may not be able to get Reggie Bush, there's one player that may still be on the board by the time their turn at #30 comes around in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft: UCLA's Maurice Drew.

Here's Bush's workout stats:

40 yard dash - 4.33
225 lbs reps - 24
Vertical Jump - 40.5 inches

Now keep in mind that Bush did this at USC's Pro Day, a full month after the NFL Combine, where UCLA's Maurice Drew participated. This means that Reggie had a full month to workout to beat Drew's stats:

40 yard dash - 4.39
225 lbs reps - 18
Vertical Jump - 36 inches

Drew compares favorably with Bush, and like his rival can take over a game. If the Colts can get him, he's an even better value than Lendale White.

USC Running Back Lendale White Stands Up SI's Mike Silver; Suffers Decrease In Draft Status

Note to Lendale White: If you want to maintain your first round pick status in the 2006 NFL Draft, don't stand up Sports Illustrated Senior Writer and Cal Bear Michael Silver.

Now, you've got bad press.

But from a PR Perspective, there's just press, right?

Maybe White's bad hamstring was to blame. It could also be a part of an elaborate ploy to cause White to fall into the waiting arms of a winning organization.

The ploy could backfire.

CAA's Tom Condon's Was Sued For Violation of NFLPA Regulation Section 3 (B) 3 In 2003

Yesterday, I reported that CAA's Football Agent Tom Condon, formerly of IMG, may have violated several sections of the National Football League Player's Association (NFLPA) regulations guiding agent conduct in the matter of USC Quaterback Matt Leinart.

Today, I uncovered this recent report by Liz Mullen of The Sports Business Journal, written September of 2003. It, combined with the more recent allegations involving Leinart, suggest player contact practices that should be reviewed by the NFLPA.

Mullen's report applies to NFLPA Regulation Section 3 (B) 3 -- Providing or offering money or any other thing of value to a member of the player's or prospective player's family or any other person for the purpose of inducing or encouraging that person to recommend the services of the Contract Advisor; Providing materially false or misleading information to any player or prospective player in the context of recruiting the player as a client or in the course of representing that player.


September 8, 2003
SportsBusiness Journal

By Liz Mullen

IMG Football President Tom Condon falsely told top NFL draft prospects that a rival agent "played the race card" in negotiations with NFL clubs in an effort to damage the agent and win recruiting battles, according to claims in a lawsuit filed in Philadelphia federal court.

NFL player agent Lamont Smith, who is black, claims in the suit that Condon, who is white, and Cleveland-based IMG slandered him in their efforts to win recruiting battles.

An IMG spokeswoman and an attorney for IMG both declined to comment. Condon did not return phone calls.

"It is a defamation of character, slander lawsuit stemming from a systematic pattern that Tom Condon has engaged in against me personally, and our firm," said Smith, a principal of All Pro Sports & Entertainment, which represents about 60 NFL players, including Eddie George, Jerome Bettis and retired running back Barry Sanders.

"He has basically stated to kids, repeatedly, that general managers have been reluctant to deal with me because of the interjection of race in negotiations, which is patently false," Smith said. "The apparent intent is to blackball. It leads a player to think you are not accepted in NFL circles, which could not be further from the truth."

The lawsuit claims that in the last three years, Condon told players Antonio Bryant, Kenyatta Walker and Larry Johnson, and/or their advisers, that Smith was known to use race in contract negotiations. The suit says the comments were made while Condon and Smith were competing to sign players before the 2001, 2002 and 2003 NFL drafts.

"Condon may have told other current and prospective NFL players... that they should not become clients of plaintiff Smith because Smith had alienated general managers of NFL clubs by 'playing the race card,' " the suit states.

The suit against Condon, who leads a practice that represents about 85 NFL players and who is widely considered to be the most powerful football agent in the country, is just the latest in a slew of lawsuits filed against or by major NFL player agents.

Octagon's football division was sued by three agents in the last two years, although one of those suits was dismissed for lack of evidence. Agent Hadley Engelhard has filed suit against his top recruiter, asking a court to enjoin the recruiter from working with his clients who were first-round NFL draft picks.

Last fall, NFL player agent Leigh Steinberg won a $44.66 million judgment against his former protégé, agent David Dunn, and his rival firm when a jury found that Dunn engaged in unfair competition.

George Croner, Smith's attorney, said the lawsuit could have a chilling effect on what is considered to be a widespread practice by agents of making negative comments about their rivals while recruiting athletes.

Croner said Condon's comments go far beyond standard competition.

"If you tell a kid that another agent has a problem with general managers... and if you embellish on it by saying the reason they don't like him is this highly inflammatory issue of playing the race card with general managers who are almost invariably white, you have created an explosive situation," he said.

Croner added that the result of the case "will not be found in documents. It will be found in the testimony of witnesses."

Roy Kessel, chairman of the Chicago Bar Association's Sports Law Committee and a certified NFL player agent, said Smith's case against Condon may be difficult to prove because Smith does not represent all the players named in the suit. Smith represents Bryant. Condon represents Walker. Agent Marvin Demoff represents Johnson.

"If you don't have the player, you will be hard-pressed for them to testify," Kessel said.

But Greg Genske, an attorney with San Francisco law firm Morgan Lewis who was part of the litigation team that won the $44.66 million judgment in the Steinberg case, noted that NFL players can be subpoenaed.

"I think it's easy to get to the truth with the players because at the end of the day they are not going to lie to protect an agent," said Genske, who cross-examined several NFL players during the Steinberg trial. "I don't think they would lie to protect Mr. Condon or lie to support trumped-up, fabricated allegations against Mr. Condon."

Again, the ball's in the court of the NFLPA.

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