- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Detroit Lions reporter
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Maybe Suh was trying a joke out on everyone that day, because none of his actions have ever actually matched up with that statement -- from his style of play to his multiple dips into the pool of reality television programming.
And this latest move by Suh and his advisory group, to fire his agent and now reportedly hire Jay-Z and Roc Nation in some capacity, is just another action that shows Suh does, in fact, aim to be in the spotlight.
This is where the question of hiring Jay-Z comes in and why I believe he’ll have Roc Nation handle his marketing and then partner with a more experienced agent to handle his actual contract negotiation or free agency. Because for Suh, who turned 27 in January, this is his chance to grab big money to ensure he's set up for the rest of his life, whether that is in the public eye, the backwoods of Oregon or some combination of the two.
This is similar to what Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz did when he hired Roc Nation. He had CAA handle his contract and Roc Nation handle everything else. It'll be interesting to see whether Suh chooses to do something similar or whether he entrusts Roc Nation, and its main football agent, Kimberly Miale, to negotiate everything.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Suh hiring Jay Z as he searches for every NFL player’s holy grail of a new contract and more lucrative endorsement deals. And one of the allures of going with Jay Z is the chance to work with one of the most recognizable people on the planet. Jay Z can simply put Suh in different circles than almost any other agent or marketer, so it makes sense for him to head in this direction if that is what he wants.
Luring Suh to his company will also have an impact for Roc Nation and its face, Jay Z -- whose actual name is Shawn Carter. Roc Nation has been looking for someone to give their fledgling agency more credibility with major sports as an agency that can represent established NFL stars. Suh, whether it is just for marketing or for the full gamut of available services, gives Roc Nation that type of athletic name recognition, much like Jay-Z gives a level of celebrity recognition to anyone in his circle of players he advises.
The agency already represents stars in other sports, including CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano in Major League Baseball. The group negotiated a 10-year, $240 million contract for Cano with Seattle in December. The group also represents NBA star Kevin Durant and Skylar Diggins of the WNBA.
This, of course, is a long way from Suh's desire in October to live out his days “sitting in some quiet backwoods” after he retires. Suh may want that when he reaches an older age, but while he’s playing, Suh clearly craves the spotlight.
The interesting timing of this -- and it has been since Suh fired Roosevelt Barnes last month -- is that Suh is heading toward either contract negotiations with the Lions or pending free agency after the upcoming season. So he picked a strategic time to dump the man who negotiated his first contract.
Now the next part of this for Suh and his new group is advisers is whether it makes sense to have Suh stay in Detroit -- or have him see what happens a year from now in the open market.
In October, after Jay Pharoah made fun of Ndamukong Suh on "Saturday Night Live," the Detroit Lions defensive tackle said he doesn’t like “being in the media’s eye.