The players are Detroit wide receiver Nate Burleson, Baltimore defensive lineman Chris Canty and free agent linebacker Bart Scott.
“Rod is a real likable individual who has been around the NFL for 30 years and brings a lot of credibility from the front-office perspective,” said Mark Lepselter, founder and president of New York-based MAXX, which specializes in representing broadcasters.
Graves was let go by the Cardinals at the end of last year. He’d been Arizona’s general manager since 2007 and with the organization since 1997.
Agents say more and more players in multiple sports are hiring broadcast agents while they are still playing.
“Identifying players who are near the end of their career and signing them as broadcasters is an industry trend,” said Lonnie Cooper, founder and owner of Atlanta-based sports marketing and talent representation firm CSE, in an email. CSE counts sports broadcasters, coaches and MLB players among its clients.
A big reason for the development is that there are so many more opportunities for broadcasters than in years past. Networks are expanding their number of hours of sports programming as well as their platforms, including digital and radio. So while it used to be that just big-name players would get a chance for a second career in broadcasting, that dynamic is evolving, too.
“It’s been fantastic with the broadcasting industry, with all of the networks expanding their platforms,” Lepselter said. “There is a lot of competition in the marketplace, and it only helps our side of things, and the talent,” he said.