You’ll have to forgive Brian McLaughlin if he’s been a little distracted lately.
The East Marion native recently became the second name in the new title of his father Kevin’s Southold law office, McLaughlin & McLaughlin. He’s also in the process of moving to a new apartment in Greenport.
But it’s a three-day event taking place this weekend at Radio City Music Hall that has the 2004 Greenport High School graduate really scrambling: the 2014 NFL Draft.
Mr. McLaughlin, 28, is one of approximately 1,000 people who can call themselves certified NFL agents. His two-man agency, Symmetry, is representing a pair of prospects who hope to be selected in this year’s draft, which starts today, Thursday, and concludes Saturday.
“It’s a very busy time for us,” he said in a telephone interview Monday, just as his other extension began to ring. Between meetings on Tuesday, a Wednesday NFLPA showcase in New York City to which one of Symmetry’s clients was invited, and the three-day draft itself, sleep will have to be put on the back burner.
This season, Mr. McLaughlin and Symmetry president Mook Williams are representing Boise State center Matt Paradis and Murray State wide receiver Walter Powell, both of whom are well-regarded enough to have received invites to the NFL Scouting Combine. Paradis is the 12th-ranked center and Powell is the 46th-ranked wide receiver in the draft, according to ESPN.com.
This is the third NFL draft for Symmetry, which was formed while Mr. McLaughlin was still attending law school at Suffolk University in Boston. He had no designs on becoming a sports agent when he enrolled in law school, but taking sports law classes sparked his interest in the career path. He met Mr. Williams while interning for another NFL agent and they launched the agency in 2012.
“It was hectic flying around the country while trying to finish up school,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “But we knew that if we were going to start this agency up, there wasn’t time to waste.”
Mr. McLaughlin describes Symmetry as a full-service agency that handles contract negotiations — something he considers a personal strength — and public relations for its clients. He considers his youth an advantage in the highly competitive world of sports management and points to his comfort with social media, which he uses to market his clients, as an example.
His age also helps him relate to the college-aged athlete better than some older agents, he said.
“It wasn’t eons ago that I was in college,” he said. “So I know a little bit about what these guys are going through.”
Symmetry currently represents seven NFL players, including two who were selected through the NFL draft: linebackers J.T. Thomas of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Steve Beauharnais of the New England Patriots.
Mr. McLaughlin said that whether drafted or signed through free agency, both Powell and Paradis will get a shot with an NFL team this season. Powell has even been courted by the New York Jets, who worked him out last month.
“If a guy doesn’t get picked, the phone just keeps ringing,” he said. “After the draft, you get a call from 20 or more teams competing to sign players.”
Since the NFL invites only 30 players to attend the draft in person, Mr. McLaughlin will not ride the Long Island Rail Road into New York City for the draft. Instead, he’ll watch on TV and work the phones from his Southold office.
Taking into consideration that NFL agents are paid on commission, he’ll have a lot riding on where his players end up this weekend. That’s a big reason he also has a traditional local law practice.
“It helps me bring in a bit more stable income,” he said of his day job. “Being an agent doesn’t draw a steady salary, but it can also be extremely rewarding.”