At 10:14 Victor Scott, a cornerback for the Cowboys, calls to discuss buying a house. Mills tries to steer him toward something a little cheaper. "Sure, you know you can call me at home, anytime," says Mills. At 10:26 Mike Gann, a defensive end for the Falcons, calls to get figures on investments he has made with and through Mills. "Call me anytime," says Mills. "I'll help you fill in the blanks."
Another call. It's from Bronco linebacker Jim Ryan. "What can I do for you?" asks Mills. Play golf, that's what. They arrange a date.
Gambol calls. He wants to play football. Mills soothes him. "Don't worry. It's just a waiting proposition," he says.
At 11:30 a turkey-and-cheese sandwich arrives at his desk, and the phone keeps ringing and Mills keeps talking. Nearly an hour later the sandwich is half-eaten. Meanwhile, Ron Brown, a wide receiver cut last year by the Giants, comes in to sign papers. He will get a look from St. Louis, thanks to Mills. While Brown is there, Mills says with a sigh, "This is a business of trust and honor, and there's not much of either. Most agents are not trustworthy. This is a business that has developed a bad reputation. There is this big opportunity to steal and be dishonest because people are trusting you. And if you are out to fool 'em, you can fool 'em. It doesn't take much." Brown laughs—a little nervously.
The day grinds on. It's 1:31, and Okoye calls again. "Anything I can do to help?" Mills asks. "I'm a little short of cash," Okoye answers. Okoye is reluctant to say how short, but Mills, who views himself as something of a father figure, says, "I'll bring a couple of hundred to the airport."
At 1:42 a call comes from Brown's wife, Tracy. She's anxious. Mills knows that Brown's chances are slim (indeed, Brown will be cut after a month in camp), and he looks for the silver lining: "And if they don't keep him, they'll pay to send him home," says Mills. Tracy laughs.
Exactly at 3:00 there's another call from Schaaf. He's obviously feeling local media heat and is concerned about a comment that Mills made to the press. Mills had been quoted as saying Schaaf hadn't made an offer. That had been true when Mills last talked to anyone from the Kansas City media. But now it makes Schaaf look bad. Mills is conciliatory: "You're in a real precarious position."
At 3:21 an Indianapolis reporter calls. First Mills says gently that there are "significant differences" between how much the Colts think they should pay Gambol and how much Mills thinks they should pay Gambol. Sounds bad, says the reporter. Mills shifts gears and says of the latest offer, "It's respectable, not a lowball." Ultimately, Gambol will get a signing bonus of $129,500 and a three-year deal for $110,000 the first year, plus $15,000 more for making the roster; $135,000 the second year, plus a $10,000 roster bonus; and $180,000 the third, plus a $10,000 roster bonus. Mills will evaluate the deal as "excellent."
A few minutes later he strides past his LeRoy Neiman print of running back Larry Brown and leaves the office to get his '87 Cadillac, which he drives the 30 miles to Denver to meet Okoye. Mostly he goes to assure him that everything will be O.K. He also does another small favor, negotiating a first-class seat at coach price for Okoye. "He's a big man," Mills explains to a very small gate agent. "You'll get used to this," Mills says jokingly to Okoye.
A couple of days later Mills will get Okoye a contract that pays a $250,000 signing bonus plus $125,000 the first year, $150,000 the second and $200,000 for an option year. Mills wanted a deal shorter than the four years originally offered by the Chiefs, because he thinks his client will be a big star and soon will command more money.