DeSOTO, Texas – David Wells, a longtime adviser to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, has accused high-profile agent Drew Rosenhaus of offering him a prohibited cash payment and trip to Miami in an effort to sign Bryant, Yahoo! Sports has learned.
The offers, through a series of text messages prior to the 2010 NFL draft, are apparent violations of the NFL Players Association's regulations on agents.
Wells, whom Bryant lived with in high school and parts of college, showed Y! Sports a series of text messages from an apparent Rosenhaus phone number starting in mid-December 2009 and ending in January 2010. In one of the messages, Rosenhaus allegedly offers Wells $10,000 to donate to a charity he works with.
According to Wells, Rosenhaus started contacting him around Thanksgiving 2009 in an attempt to sign the former Oklahoma State Cowboy as a client.
The progression of alleged messages from Rosenhaus – from a number that matches one on file for Rosenhaus – to Wells reads:
• Dec. 16, 2009, Rosenhaus wrote in a text to Wells: "Also will have 10K for you to give to your community center.."
• Dec. 17, 2009, Rosenhaus wrote in another text: "Dnt [sic] mean to put pressure but we want this bad ! Were ready to put u on a private jet and get this done.. Miami's callllinnnnnggggg!!!"
[Rand Getlin/Jason Cole: Rosenhaus Sports vice president seeking $1M from firm]
• Dec. 21, 2009, after Wells said he did not respond to Rosenhaus' text messages, the agent wrote by text: "Never heard back my man.. We raised the guarantee … You'll be happy.."
• Jan. 3, 2010, Rosenhaus wrote in a text: "Whatever it takes man … whatever … Just give us a shot."
During an hour-long interview with Yahoo! Sports, Rosenhaus answered "no comment" to 11 questions regarding his relationship with Bryant and/or Wells. Rosenhaus, who claims to represent more than 140 NFL players, cited the confidential nature of any agent-player relationship.
[Jason Cole on YSR: Dez Bryant has no direct link to Drew Rosenhaus' offer]
Wells, a successful former bails bondsman and private investigator, said he came forward regarding the text messages because he is tired of a system that, in his view, "takes advantage of athletes, particularly African-American athletes."
At least the first two texts appear to be violations of the NFLPA's regulation on "Prohibited Conduct." In Section 3, Article B, subsection 3 of the NFLPA's agent regulations, agents (known as "Contract Advisors" in the regulations) are specifically prohibited from making such offers.
Under the heading "Prohibited Conduct," the union specifically bans agents from "providing or offering money or any other thing of value to a member of the player's or prospective player's family or any other person for the purpose of inducing or encouraging that person to recommend the services of the Contract Advisor."
NFLPA spokesman George Atallah declined to comment on the matter. However, there is some question about how much power the NFLPA has to censure agents who broke rules prior to the 2011 lockout and the union's subsequent decertification/recertification process. Unless an agent was under investigation by the union or government authorities, the union might not be able to punish that agent.
Rosenhaus' apparent pursuit in 2009 of Bryant, who has not accused Rosenhaus of any improper activities, was not successful. Bryant eventually signed with agent Eugene Parker, who represents 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree, also from the Dallas area, is friends with Bryant and is related to Wells. Wells said Crabtree asked him to take in Bryant, who grew up in a difficult home life.
"This kid is working through a lot of things," Wells said.
Bryant, who reportedly had multiple lawsuits filed against him for a total of $800,000 and also had a run-in at a local mall all in March 2011, was eventually put on a "budget" by Wells, Parker and others. The group was working with Bryant to make sure his bills were paid and that he didn't spend too much money.
However, Roesenhaus reentered the picture in December 2011 when Bryant fired Parker and hired Rosenhaus. Shortly after Bryant signed with Rosenhaus, Wells, who still advises Bryant, said he received a text message from Rosenhaus vice president Danny Martoe that read, "I see your horse left the stable."
[Eric Adelson: Fred Taylor forgives ex-agent who defrauded him of millions]
"That pissed me off," said Wells, who called Martoe to express his disgust. "You refer to the kid as an animal? So when I got that from Danny [and then called Martoe], he refused to call me back anymore. He would not talk to me."
Wells said he didn't hear from anyone with Rosenhaus' company until this month, after Bryant fired Rosenhaus on Aug. 3.
Prior to firing Rosenhaus, Bryant was involved in two other incidents. In January, Bryant and some friends were in Miami, an excursion Wells claims was set up by Rosenhaus. During the trip, Bryant's group got into a fight at a nightclub.
At the time, at least one Dallas Cowboys official allegedly expressed extreme concern via text message to Wells about Bryant's association with Rosenhaus.
On July 13, Bryant was arrested in Dallas, accused of striking his mother. Wells said that Rosenhaus never came to Dallas to help deal with the problem. Furthermore, Wells said Rosenhaus instructed Bryant to come to Miami to "lay low for awhile." Bryant did not take that advice.
[Michael Silver: Maurice Jones-Drew unlikely to win standoff with Jaguars]
Additionally, Wells claims that Rosenhaus started advancing Bryant large sums of money shortly after signing Bryant as a client, a move Wells said Rosenhaus never called him to ask if that was advisable. Wells claims that Rosenhaus told him that Bryant owes more than $100,000 to Rosenhaus' company.
"Drew called me and said, 'We don't want this to get out in the media and we don't want this to get ugly, but Dez owes us some money,' " Wells said, recalling a conversation he claims he had with Rosenhaus earlier this month. "I said, 'OK, but why are you calling me now? Because you got fired? You didn't call me before you gave [the money] to him?' … If you knew this kid was on financial restraints, why would you feed the fire?"
Wells acknowledges that some people, including Rosenhaus he said, believe he has a relationship with Parker, one that would have him push Bryant to Parker.
However, Wells flatly denies that he has any such arrangement and that he doesn't get paid by Parker. Wells says that if he took money from any agent, it would "hurt my credibility" in all his businesses.
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