Article by Carmen Lee and Wire Reports
From his 33-acre ranch, Joe Courrege conducts his business with a relaxed personal touch.
Sitting at his large oak and marble desk wearing blue jeans, boots and a short-sleeved plaid shirt, the sports agent for about 40 NFL players – including the New York Giants, ten time Pro Bowl linebacker, Lawrence Taylor and Houston Oiler All Pro defensive lineman, Ray Childress – says he tries to guide his players personally even after the contract are signed.
“A lot of the young guys just out of college know how to play football but few have experienced life in the real world.” “Sure I try to get them a big time contract, but that’s not all that is involved in this business. Their life changes direction and the rules of the NFL leave some guys stranded and without answers. They get cut with no warning, they get hurt and set aside for another day and surprises continue to come.” I represent young men needing help in the business of Pro Football and I have crossed that bridge many times.
Courrege, an easy going man with dark brown hair just beginning to gray, has been involved in sports most of his life. He played football and baseball at Texas Tech and was a two time Golden Glove Champion.
He boxed professionally for one year before hanging up his gloves and switching to the management side of the sport. Joe Courrege managed about ten boxers for four years until his perspective of the sport was altered by a life changing decision to commit his life to Jesus Christ.
“I was asked to compromise principles on numerous occasions Courrege recalls. “The nature of the fight business was not my hearts desire, but still, I had a desire to help young athletes.”
So in 1976 Courrege formed Professional Players Representatives and began recruiting football players as clients. Success came quickly and Courrege was soon representing 20 to 30 players per year. But the pace became so hectic he narrowed the number to 12 in 1980 and began relying on referrals by players instead of the heavy recruiting.
“I was representing so many different guys with different abilities and situations that it became difficult to manage all their affairs.”
Over the past 14 years Joe Courrege has represented more than 400 players and has negotiated some of the more lucrative contracts in the NFL.
Sources close to the NFL Players Association say that Courrege was responsible for negotiating the highest paid defensive contract in NFL history (Lawrence Taylor) as well as the highest paid quarterback contract (Gary Hogeboom) in 1987. He has also negotiated several contracts that pay players from the day they sign until death.
“I get the most dollars possible for any player I represent” says Courrege, “but not every young player is L.T. One of my greatest satisfactions is taking a young player and teaching him the business of the NFL. From that I am blessed.”
Along the more personal vein, Joe Courrege claims a rapport with the players that goes beyond the client-agent relationship. Many of the players have opened their off-the-field lives to him, and he in turn tries to give them advice and guidance. “I try to tell them that there’s more to life than football, that it’s just a stop along the way of the path of life. But I will back off. I don’t try to push anything on them.”
And so far, Courrege’s methods have made a good impression on both sides of the bargaining table.
Hogeboom commends Courrege as being a Christian man of high standards and strong principals who has helped him reach goals he is proud of.
Meanwhile, former Dallas Cowboys Vice President, Gil Brandt, commends Courrege not only for working hard to get the best deals for his players, but also for helping them after the contract’s been signed.
“It almost kills me to say nice things about agents, but Joe’s a really good person.” Brandt says “He’s one of the few agents that has his clients’ best interest at heart.”
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