Being an agent in the NFL is no easy task, from the negotiating table to watching clients become one of the top players at their respected position. That is something David Canter understands. Canter is the President/CEO of DEC Management, the worldwide leader in athlete management and representation.
Canter’s been in the field of sports management since 1994 when his first client was former Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver Lamar Thomas. Since then, DEC Management and Canter have grown into one of the well-respected agencies in the country.
With just one big game remaining in this season, the offseason is quickly approaching. This is a time that the NFL agents shine with new player contracts, NFL Draft prospects, and free agency. The whole process must be addressed appropriately. However, the most important job is to keep the player happy.
“Other than raising my two sons,” said Canter, “It’s my purpose for living. It’s everything I do and work for the past 18 years. That starts with an understanding of what I do and don’t do as an agent. I try to not only be their agent but also their friend which sometimes allows a player to open up to me with issues that he might not normally tell someone who is just their contract guy or strictly their agent.”
Keeping your client happy is key but it is more important to not let them make bad decisions, such as the decisions Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent or New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez have done in the last year or so.
“Baggage in equals baggage out,” said Canter of the issue. “I have insanely high standards about who and what makes up a DEC MANAGEMENT client. If there’s a ton of baggage on a player or a lot of red flags I won’t even consider them as clients. My philosophy is I want the best people who happen to be good football players. The people part of it allows them to last longer than the physical component. Being a professional, being attentive to details and coachable far outweigh the physical.”
What is management without trust? When it comes to free agency and contracts, trust is the biggest part of the relationship between an agent and its client.
“I believe my clients trust me 100 percent, thus I feed information to them, negotiate the deal, help pick the city, work with them to adjust to the team, staff and community, so I would say I have as much input as is humanly possible. With that said, I am their employee, so I never decide anything for them — I give them the information and facts, then they and their family sleep and pray on it. Then we act as a unit. We’re in it together all the way every day.”
This is one of two parts of the interview between David Canter, Jeff Hartman and Brandon Sweeney. Hartman and Sweeney cover the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com. You may follow them on Twitter @BnGBlitz and @NFLNSTUFF, and Like Sweeney on Facebook.