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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Greg laughed his butt off. From that day forward I was his guy, like his little mascot. For Greg and the other players, I would do anything. I sneaked beer up to their rooms; I sneaked girls into their hotel. Once Greg called me at 1 a.m. and asked me to come to his room immediately. I hurried up there, and he answered the door wearing silk pajama bottoms and a smoking jacket and holding a cigarette in one hand and a glass of Grand Marnier in the other. After a long discussion about whether I did drugs (I did not), Greg took out this plastic container, put it on a table and said, "I need some piss I can trust, Josh. Is your piss trustworthy?" He told me he was going to be drug-tested the next day, and if he tested positive, he would be suspended. In my mind, helping him was the right thing to do; Greg was an important player. By giving him my urine, I was doing my part for the team.
Days later, I heard that Greg had been suspended. I couldn't believe it. Had my urine tested positive? Greg had been sent home from camp so I rushed to his house, and again he answered the door wearing that smoking jacket and holding a glass of Grand Marnier. I started babbling about how my urine couldn't have tested positive and he just laughed. He said that the testers made him pee in front of them, that my urine hadn't been used. He appreciated what I had done and that I had come to see him, and then mentioned that he had some girls inside. "Come on in," he said.
In 1988, during my third summer with the team and the year after I'd graduated from high school, Greg told me that he needed a new agent. "Josh, you are a good guy," he said. "You care about the players. You and Al [Davis] are both New York Jewish guys. You should be my agent."
I had never thought about being an agent, but it made sense. I could be close to the players, I could help them, and it would allow me to have a job in sports. I filled out the paperwork required by the NFLPA, just a few forms, and paid about $300. I was 19. I was still living with my parents. I didn't know anything about contracts and negotiating. But it didn't matter. I was officially an agent.
When informed of the allegation that he had accepted money from Luchs, Kanavis McGhee asked SI to call back the next day. He did not return subsequent phone and e-mail messages from SI.... Greg Townsend confirmed the details of his relationship with Luchs.
PAY TO PLAY
When I first got into the business, I naively thought that if players just got to know me, they would hire me. It had worked with Greg Townsend, so why wouldn't it work with others? I drove to colleges along the West Coast such as Oregon, Stanford, Fresno State and San Diego State and introduced myself to players. I was about the same age they were, and I could talk to them. I think some liked me. But none hired me.
After Colorado, after Kanavis McGhee took my money and then never answered my calls when it came time for him to pick an agent, you would think I would have sworn off paying players. But in my first year in the business, 1990, I paid Chuck Webb, the running back from Tennessee. I gave him a couple hundred dollars during his sophomore year. I also paid several hundred dollars to Mel Agee, the big defensive lineman at Illinois. As with Kanavis, I didn't land either of them as clients. Mel came to L.A. and said he would sign if I bought a diamond engagement ring for his girlfriend. I would have done it, but the ring cost too much.
It was rough that first year, but I learned valuable lessons. Most of all, I realized I needed someone to show me the ropes. Harold (Doc) Daniels became that person. Doc was a legend, one of the first prominent black NFL agents. Doc, who would die in 2001 after a long illness, was a big dude, like 6' 6", and he wore all this gold jewelry and had a shiny bald head. Other agents were afraid of him, and he also had a reputation for paying and giving gifts to college kids. There used to be a joke in the industry that if you saw a college player driving a Datsun 280Z, then you could forget about signing him. It was widely known Doc had a hookup at a Datsun dealership in Southern California.