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2009 Draft: special agent edition


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Jets Journal

On the night of free agency, Jets coach Rex Ryan showed up in the driveway of one Bart Scott, a Baltimore linebacker the Jets wanted so bad they set Scott’s dogs off and barking at midnight.

The next day the buzz was that a deal was imminent — but there was a holdup.

That delay was Harold Lewis, Scott’s agent who was raised in Spring Valley. Lewis was also negotiating hard that day to get another client, Jason Brown, who ultimately signed with the Rams. Those two deals alone were worth $95 million.

(By the way, Bart would’ve taken $7 million a year, but got $8M.)

But if you think he’s strictly in it for the money, consider this: Lewis, a coffee-cup baseball player in the minors, negotiated on behalf of players for the first three years without taking a commission. Now he has 45 active NFL players.

For an agent on draft week, there are phone calls to general managers and trips to visit rookies. It’s hand-holding and listening, and Lewis said he likes to tell players to relax: their work is about to pay off and there are plenty of people who would love to be in their shoes.

“It’s almost the equivalent of running a marathon and I’ve got two miles to go,” Lewis said. “You’ve just got to run harder, work harder. Make sure there isn’t one team who doesn’t know everything about every one of your players.”

When he calls teams, it’s often to discuss a strike against a player. It’s something that GMs appreciate and take with a grain of salt.

“I think sometimes they are calling to clarify,” Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said. ”If a player has a specific bump in the road they’ll maybe want to say, ‘Look, this was an isolated incident. There is a body of work that is more compelling than this one bump.’”

Scott, an undrafted free agent, switched to Lewis after several years in the league. He said you can’t measure an agent by what he gets for the first-round pick — that’s easy money — but it’s what he does for the journeyman.

On Friday, Scott was two lockers away from Mike Kracalik, a tackle originally signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2005, who was back for a tryout during the voluntary minicamp.

They don’t have a lot in common. Scott signed a six year deal worth $48 million, while Kracalik would be lucky to get a $300,000 deal for the season as a practice player. But they do share an agent in Lewis, and Kracalik said he feels Lewis works just as hard on his behalf as he does for a guy like Scott.

“Harold’s the kind of guy who keeps his word, he’s proven that to me time and time again to me,” Kracalik said. “He has nothing to gain from me, because the most I would make is $300,000, you get three percent of $300,000, when he has guys like Bart and Jason Brown who are making $10 million-plus. I think he just likes to fight for his guys.”

And that’s the way Lewis sees it. He now makes his home in St. Louis with his wife Jill (formerly Sirop), who was his high school sweetheart back at Ramapo.

“It’s a business that’s very sexy and very rewarding because of the money you make off of the contracts,” Lewis said. “But what’s really rewarding is the openings that you create because of all the extra work you did — you got a kid a job because you worked so hard.”

That’s what happened with Kracalik, who the Jets signed to the roster yesterday.

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