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Latish Kinsler provides inside look at the NFL and the draft

kinslerlatish091709_optNewark native and former football star is now a rising sports player agent

BY JERRY MILANI
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

Competition has always driven Latish Kinsler. From gaining a spot on the Immaculate Conception High School football team, to earning a scholarship to the University of Cincinnati, to enduring minicamp after minicamp toward his dream of playing in the National Football League, the Newark native parlayed his physical gifts, intelligence and unyielding hard work.

And while his efforts did not ultimately get him onto the NFL playing field, despite time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets, the lessons Kinsler has learned and the experience he has gained along the way have helped him get into what may be an even more competitive field — player representation.

Kinsler caught on with METRO, based in Bedminster, with plans to expand to other New Jersey locations. He brings to the young agency an important element that it had been lacking - the ability to get in front of players. Having forged many relationships with coaches and players during his time on the field, Kinsler went to work reaching out to his contacts and friends.

"I saw connecting with METRO as a great opportunity on both ends," said Kinsler. "Because I had played at Cincinnati and had been with a few NFL organizations, I met a lot of coaches and players who have ended up in positions with other schools and pro teams. Continuing to build on those relationships is the key to being successful in this business."

Kinsler's tireless work in maintaining those connections has helped him with the first step — finding the kinds of players that would benefit most from working with him and METRO. His experience as a former player who is also familiar with the business side of the game gives him a unique view on how both sides work.

"I had talked to a couple of potential agents, but when I met Latish, I knew right away that he was the guy," said Zach Miller, a sixth-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. "He was the first one that came across as really knowing what I was going through and what it would take for me to reach the NFL."

Part of that was a position change, which Kinsler and TEST Sports founder Brian Martin felt would be the best route for the speedy Miller, who had starred at quarterback at Division II University of Nebraska-Omaha but whose body type and skills were more fit for tight end. Many of METRO's clients train at Martinsville-based TEST in preparation for the Combine and Draft.

"We had thrown around the idea of converting to halfback or tight end — I was invited to play tight end in the Cactus Bowl, I did fairly decent there and that kind of got the ball rolling," added Miller.

Extensive work with TEST's trainers, including former Giants lineman Billy Ard, followed by an excellent showing at the NFL Combine in February led to his selection by the Jaguars in April.

Kinsler sees working with players like Miller and defensive back Brice McCain, a sixth-round pick of the Titans, as more than just negotiating contracts.

"What we want is for the player's only concern to be what he has to do on the field and in preparing to help his team win," explained Kinsler. "Off the field, we take care of that. Before the Draft, I'm talking to coaches, finding out which guys they like, whether they think they fit in the system. Then when a player is picked up, if I don't know the front office that well, I will visit them, meet the position coach, meet the people who can tell me if the player has a need, or if things aren't going well for some reason. This way, I can be on top of situations as they come about."

This level of dedication has helped Kinsler earn the trust of his players. They know that Kinsler is doing everything he can to help the player succeed.

"Latish has helped with everything," said Miller. "Getting with him and TEST is a very big part of where I am. I was prepared physically for the Combine and Pro Day, and I'm confident in Latish because he has been in the position that I have been in, he is someone to count on to give good advice."

NFL Draft day can be full of anguish, not just for top players looking to see where they go in the first round — the whole football world cringed at the uncomfortable sight of Brady Quinn awaiting his selection in the Draft Green Room in 2007. But for many of Kinsler's clients, the potential swings are even wilder, with projections of being selected anywhere from the second round to undrafted possible for many of them. Once the two-day, seven-round Draft is over, negotiations with clubs differ widely based on selection.

"For a draftee, there is a slotting system which awards bonuses based on where they are selected," explained Kinsler. "So for someone like [wide receiver] Kenny McKinley, he was a fifth round pick by Denver, and was expected to go higher. We look at the slot, the position, who was picked there last year and by what team."

The situation is quite a bit different for players who aren't drafted. Here is where Kinsler's prep work really pays off.

"Undrafted free agents are negotiated the night of the draft. Usually there are multiple teams that had said they had interest. Depending on who else they ended up drafting and what their needs were going into the draft, I'll contact the ones that expressed interest and would be the best fit."

Sometimes it works out very well, like Miller and McCain, who were drafted and earned spots on the 53-man active rosters. The next level of success is finding a home for a player on a practice squad, one step away from getting on the field on Sunday, as is the case with Mike Desormeaux of the Jaguars and Khalif Mitchell of the 49ers, both METRO clients.

Then there are the cases in which all the hard work still doesn't pay off for the player. These are the toughest cases of all for Kinsler, whose attachment goes beyond player-client. Undrafted free agent Frantz Joseph, a linebacker out of Florida Atlantic, was first signed by Oakland, which seemed to be the right fit. Unexpectedly, Kinsler's phone rang with news that the Raiders had cut Joseph after minicamp workouts, sending Kinsler on jaunts to New Orleans and Baltimore to set up tryouts as well as show the extra support for Joseph that his commitment demands.

"Frantz was working out at FAU when Baltimore offered the tryout," remembered Kinsler. "I had to track him down through the SID, who found him on campus."

Just today, two more of Kinsler's clients, cornerbacks Brandon Anderson and former Rutgers standout Derrick Roberson, were picked up by Tampa Bay after having been released by Cleveland and Minnesota, respectively, with Kinsler's behind-the-scenes work integral in making that happen.

That kind of extra effort will help spread the word about Kinsler and METRO, but the challenges of success in the field are always present.

"The biggest challenge is earning legitimacy," he explained. "It's always a battle of 'Who do you have?' We are moving forward there, and as we have more guys, the word will spread about how we can give the personal attention they get and the ability to do the best for them."

 
Comments (19)
19 Friday, 13 November 2009 17:01
kellysims3
success happens when preparation meets opportunity. as a bearcat we were trained to go hard or get left behind. this has carried over off the field into mr kinslers professional career. the country is finally getting a glimpse of how bearcats are raised (# 5 in the bcs) but to tell you the truth i expect nothing less than what latish is doing. and its spreading across the nation 1 player at a time.
18 Monday, 12 October 2009 18:52
Brandon Anderson
I'm one of Latish's clients and currently with the Tampa Bay Bucs. I've known him for about a year now. With all his hard work and dedication, his belief is that failure is not an option. Latish has been in my shoes before, so the fact that we can understand and relate to each other only makes our relationship that much stronger. He certainly puts in the time/effort and takes care of all his clients. I appreciate everything he's done for me and i kno all his hard work will pay off.

Brandon Anderson
17 Thursday, 08 October 2009 23:01
Tad Kornegay-CFL player/Personal Trainer
I am a Profession football Player in the Canadian Football League(CFL) for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. I also Personal Train at TEST Sports Club in my off season dealing with Latish and his clients he represents. I've known Latish for 5 yrs and have watched him grow into a great player representer. His passion and determination for collegiate athletes getting ready for the pros is one of kind. His hands on relationship with his clients is impeccable. All his clients that i have trained over the years have nothing but positive words when it comes to his dedication towards helping them reach their goal which is getting to the next level. Its an honor to not only know Latish but also be apart of his movement to become one of the most successful agents to represent pro athletes. Happy for all of your accomplishment that you have endeavored. You will soon be one of the greats! Keep up the good work!

Tad Kornegay
Saskatchewan Roughriders
16 Thursday, 08 October 2009 20:52
RU07
Latish for starters is a genuine guy. I've had the honor to be represented by him and he has the qualities of a primetime agent. He tells you the truth, doesn't sugar coat anything and works hard for you. I remember him starting off from bottom and I'm glad that he is getting recognized for his hard work. Congrats and keep up the good work Tish.
15 Thursday, 08 October 2009 15:00
H. Shareef Sherrod
I have played with Latish at UC. He embraced competition from opposing players, and relished the opportunity to showcase his skills. His passion for the game had gone beyond the playing field. He has showed leadership off the field by keeping the players together through tumultuous times. After his collegiate and professional playing career ended. It doesn't surprise me to see him on the front line helping, educating and working with the best athletes from around the world. It's his passion. Its in his DNA. I'm glad to see him working with these athletes, because he not only can speak their languages. He makes them understand what it takes to reach the apex of their career.
I'm not Surprised, Good Job
14 Thursday, 08 October 2009 11:59
Mountaineer
I have known Latish for over 6 years. His passion and hard work is a step ahead of everyone. He is not just a spectator he cares about the playeers and takes care of them. Latish I am proud of you. keep up the good work. FOR ALL YOU PLAYERS YOU ARE IN GOOD HANDS!!!!!!!!!
13 Tuesday, 06 October 2009 15:55
Scout44
I have had the pleasure of knowing Latish for the last few years. As an NFL scout, I have met many agents, but only a handful stick out. Latish is one of them. He is hard working and unrelenting in his pursuit to greater position his clients in the eyes of scouts and therefore the draft. I think everyone can see this with his 2009 draft class. If I had Latish as my agent, I would probably still be playing in the league. Tish, keep setting the tone for other agents to follow. You are good for this game.

Scout 44
12 Tuesday, 06 October 2009 10:29
Mike B.
This was a great article and it demonstrates your dedication to your profession. I've known Latish for over 10 years, and throughout that time, he has been in a professional, dedicated individual. I know that he will gives his potential clients the guidence they need to enhance their careers. I pray you continued success with your family and career.
11 Wednesday, 30 September 2009 23:31
Steelers 4 Life
I've known Latish for over 20 years and he has always been very a loyal and dedicated person. Any athlete who he represents will not only be getting a great agent but even a better friend. Good Luck Latish.
10 Tuesday, 29 September 2009 12:19
Alicia
Latish is an amazing person. I've never known anyone that's so dedicated and focus on his cilents like he is. This is truly a genuine man. I'm so happy for you big bro. Best wishes to you.
9 Thursday, 24 September 2009 07:33
Rob Rossi
You were the best player I ever had the pleasure of playing with!! Im so glad you carried over that drive into your life!!! Take care of yourself!!!
wow
8 Thursday, 17 September 2009 20:22
Atkinson
Tish! I saw your ESPN segment man. Big things! Keep making it happen bro. We see you...out here in the Clair!
7 Thursday, 17 September 2009 18:45
unc law
Latish is the hardest working guy in the biz! Im so proud of him, I believe his title with the company is either vice president or president. Either way it's just testiment to his hard work and determination........congrats old friend!
6 Thursday, 17 September 2009 16:13
J.T.
I played HS ball with Tish. I always knew you had it in you bruh. Good luck. And we'll keep a close eye on your new crop. Wish ya both tha best.
5 Thursday, 17 September 2009 16:08
Armstrong
I have known Latish for over 20 years. He is truly an overall good guy. He is genuine and honestly cares about his fellow man. He is a very hard worker and will stop at nothing to get the job done. For all you aspiring football players.....You are in good hands!!!!! Good Luck Latish
4 Thursday, 17 September 2009 15:14
Romi
I'm a bit confused. The NFLPA requires that anyone who negotiates a contract with an NFL team to be certified by the NFLPA, Kinsler is not found anywhere on the NFLPA website. So is this guy is a runner? Is he going to be certified any time soon? It is highly illegal (NFLPA-wise) for a team to negotiate with an uncertified individual. I know Kenny McKinley pretty well and his agent is a guy named Andrew Bondarowicz who works for Aregatta Sports. How does this guy factor in? He is certainly not an agent.
3 Thursday, 17 September 2009 15:01
Cinz Stair
I've known Latish for a few years...and I must say he treats his prospects like family. He's humble. Hardworking. And he's not just a "fan" of the game. He truly cares. Wish him, and his players, the best!

REDSKIN4LIFE
2 Thursday, 17 September 2009 13:17
Conan55
I am so glad that Latish is being recognized for all his hard work and dedication to his clients! This is one man who genuinely cares for everyone of the clients he works with.
1 Thursday, 17 September 2009 12:52
Profootballer99
Latish is the one of the most genuine sports related personal i have ever conversed with. He walked me through the tail end of my college carreer all the way into the league. I wish him the best of luck and am very confident that who ever Latish brings under his guidence, will be extremely taken care of and guided in the positive way.
thanks again latish
Profootballer99

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