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Trent Dilfer denies conflict of interest regarding Colt McCoy

Former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer recently gave a candid assessment of former Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, saying that Bradford “is not even close to the best player in the draft.”  In the same interview, on ESPN Radio’s St. Louis affiliate, Dilfer said that former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen is the best prepared to play right away, and that former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy eventually could be the best of the trio.

The assessment of McCoy raised eyebrows, given that McCoy and Dilfer are both clients of Athletes First — and that Peter King recently said that Dilfer “works with” McCoy.  Several blogs, such as JoeBucsFan.com and TheBigLead.com, openly have questioned whether Dilfer has a conflict of interest.

So we reached out to ESPN for an opportunity to talk to Dilfer, and before I could even get his number, Trent called me.

He denied strongly the suggestion that he was compensated to work out with or to endorse McCoy.  “Dave Dunn pays me nothing,” Dilfer said.  “Athletes First pays me nothing.”

Dilfer candidly acknowledged that, from time to time, Dunn will ask him to talk to potential clients — and Dilfer will do so.  He said he doesn’t get paid for this, and he said that many former players do the same thing. 

Dilfer’s right.  We’ve been hearing about this practice for years.  The problem arises if/when the former player is getting paid to make a recommendation — especially if the former player is also employed as an on-air analyst.

Dilfer told me that he has limited such efforts since being hired by ESPN, because he wants to be sure to avoid any actual or apparent conflict of interest.  And he explained that he completed his evaluation of the top three quarterbacks (Bradford, Clausen, and McCoy) before any of them hired agents.

“I’m gonna to speak the way I see it regardless of who Dave represents,” Dilfer said.  “I’m only gonna tell the truth.”

During the 10-minute conversation, Dilfer was passionate, candid, and credible.  And he made no attempt to hide the relationship with Dunn.  Still, while we believe that Dilfer has handled the situation appropriately, the safest approach for any on-air analyst would be to secure representation from a firm that does not represent the players that the analyst will be evaluating.

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50 Responses to “Trent Dilfer denies conflict of interest regarding Colt McCoy”
  1. pjhurley says: Apr 7, 2010 10:52 PM

    Good work Florio, this is seriously something I knew nothing about that I’m excited to read about. I appreciate you putting it out there!

  2. Postman says: Apr 7, 2010 10:53 PM

    You sure love lecturing actual ‘legitimate’ media people.

  3. monet99 says: Apr 7, 2010 10:53 PM

    Dilfer is an idiot. Nobody cares what he thinks.

  4. Bullrushorg says: Apr 7, 2010 10:54 PM

    Dilfer is an idiot!

  5. JaggedMark says: Apr 7, 2010 10:59 PM

    Bradford’s not even close to being the best player in the draft?
    Hmmm.
    Dilfer’s not even close to being the best NFL analyst on television. In fact, he may be the worst.

  6. LUNATIK RAIDER says: Apr 7, 2010 11:04 PM

    I got a feeling that the Raiders might take McCoy with the 8th pick. For one Hayward-Bey gave up #12 for #85 (McCoy wears #12) Kyper thinks the Raiders will go QB but with Clausen, & the Raiders were very impressed with Tebow (Tebow won’t go that high). Just a thought????

  7. bradleygator says: Apr 7, 2010 11:04 PM

    To quote Gordon Gekko, this guy’s walking around blind without a cane if he can’t see a conflict of interest here. I’m sure he didn’t get cash in an envelope to talk up McCoy, but obviously their interests are comingled. LOL at not trying to hide his relationship with the agent. It’s already been reported.

  8. raidersteve413 says: Apr 7, 2010 11:07 PM

    trent dilfer was the worst qb in history, why on earth he is a “expert” The world will never know.
    ESPN is full of dumb former football players,
    tom jackson sucks, all he does is pick on the raiders, mark shithead, the same.
    the only guy on that network who is good is eric allen

  9. Deb says: Apr 7, 2010 11:08 PM

    Fortunately, the scouts and player personnel directors aren’t listening to Dilfer or any of the talking heads in deciding their picks. And time will tell whether Dilfer’s judgment of these QBs is believable. If he proves way off the mark, we’ll just have to wonder if it’s because there was more of a conflict than he would admit … or because he’s a lousy judge of talent.

  10. Brewster says: Apr 7, 2010 11:10 PM

    the safest approach for any on-air analyst would be to secure representation from a firm that does not represent the players that the analyst will be evaluating.
    _____________
    So, you’re suggesting a new class of agents, those that only represent media types?
    Easier said than done.

  11. Shake N Bake says: Apr 7, 2010 11:11 PM

    BS!!! Dilfer is a joke. Go take a look at his past comments about Derrek Anderson & Brady Quinn. If you listened to him you would’ve thought Derrek Anderson was the 2nd coming and that was not just in 07 but in 08 & 09. Oh, by the way: Derrek Anderson & Dilfer have the same agent. He has been transparent since day 1 at ESPN.

  12. this class sucks says: Apr 7, 2010 11:13 PM

    Who the hell cares what Dilfer thinks? This guy was nothing but mediocre his entire career. Why would he of all people know what it takes to be a good QB in the NFL. Inb4 we all mention the Super Bowl, it didn’t take a great QB to win it all just an outstanding D. Now it does, then it didn’t.

  13. BigBear123 says: Apr 7, 2010 11:14 PM

    If he was serious about avoiding such a conflict of interest he would be more open about his ties to the players. Including working with them.
    Not like any professionals takes analysts seriously but analysts can sway public opinion and public opinion can lead to endorsements – Tebow!
    Granted that is not going to affect the analysts wallet directly or significantly, but it can affect the agents.
    Agents are merely lawyer wanna-bes that couldn’t handle the college workload.

  14. ItalianArmyGuy says: Apr 7, 2010 11:14 PM

    If the idiot Ravens hadn’t cut Dilfer, they would have won at least 2 Super Bowls.
    I’m just sayin….

  15. PsychoTim says: Apr 7, 2010 11:15 PM

    But Dilfer didn’t deny beating his wife or molesting children.
    Seriously, this is some sketchy journalism.

  16. vbedford says: Apr 7, 2010 11:16 PM

    Trent’s clean.
    He has always been straight up.
    Not a good qb BUT straight up.
    If this was Dion or Mike Irvin THAN we would
    smell that bullsh*t 3000 miles away.

  17. Maximum Bob says: Apr 7, 2010 11:20 PM

    As if any front office will be watching Dilfer to figure out who to draft.

  18. tacobunny says: Apr 7, 2010 11:23 PM

    Or to disclose on air that he has a relationship with McCoy’s agent.

  19. seahawks670 says: Apr 7, 2010 11:23 PM

    Pete Carroll should be looking at Colt McCoy i don’t care what Danny O’Neil said, Colt could be the best QB the Seahawks ever drafted his fast he could throw and did I mention fast

  20. dabarber says: Apr 7, 2010 11:23 PM

    Collusion.
    Note to NFL players: Call Florio and he will write good things about you–even if he wrote 15 bad articles about you with the last few days.

  21. snnyjcbs says: Apr 7, 2010 11:26 PM

    Here is a little clue. No team could give two shits what Dilfer or any of these other clowns working the media and TV think of a player in the Draft.
    If you want to spend a little time having some laughs just go back through the years and look what these guys have said about players in the Drafts.
    I bet that New England is already resetting the Draft Board now that Dilfer has spoken, lol a whole lot.

  22. daskeenz says: Apr 7, 2010 11:28 PM

    HAHAHAHAHA PONY McCOY BETTER THAN BRADFORD! hahahahahahahahahahah i guess thats why Dilfer has as many starts on television as he did in the NFL. The Raiders need to draft him way to high so he can go get eaten by Jokemarcus and we never, EVER have to hear about this sawed of never was again. TEXAS SUCKS!!!!

  23. seahawks670 says: Apr 7, 2010 11:30 PM

    Colt McCoy to Seattle Seahawks

  24. CaptainFantastik says: Apr 7, 2010 11:31 PM

    The only reason Dilfer is in front of an ESPN camera is because other NFL QB’s who were actually good are:
    A) not interested in the gig,
    B) Not comfortable in that capacity in front of a camera, or
    C) all of the above
    The only thing Dilfer can speak on with expertise regarding the QB position is proper technique for handing off the football and rooting for the defense from the sidelines.
    According to this “expert”…..Brat Favre doesn’t have to do what his head coach says and shouldn’t have to do pre-season work with his team.

  25. Shamrock says: Apr 7, 2010 11:35 PM

    Florio gets paid by Sprint and still pimps them as the best cell phone.
    Yet, he calls out talking heads who have no say in who gets drafted when or by whom.
    Bizarre.
    There is no conflict of interest. Dilfer isn’t selling to the teams, he’s just commenting for fan information.
    PFT needs a reality check.

  26. MasterShake says: Apr 7, 2010 11:36 PM

    Shouldn’t Dilfer spend more time studying QB’s and not looking for PFT’s phone number? Or was it Florio’s personal number?
    Isn’t it a conflict of interest that Dilfer (ABC) is looking to date, I mean looking for the number of Florio?
    867-5309

  27. The_Game_Esq says: Apr 7, 2010 11:43 PM

    Why does anyone even really care what Dilfer thinks? Why his opinion means anything is beyond me. The guy was a complete bust as a QB. And don’t give me that he won a ring BS. Baltimore won despite his best efforts. Not because of them.

  28. burntorangehorn says: Apr 7, 2010 11:49 PM

    Tempest in a teapot, it seems. Whatever. McCoy does have questions about his offensive style, arm strength, and injury, just like Sam Bradford does. Neither one of them should be a top-15 pick, and neither should Clausen unless a team really vets his character.

  29. robert ethan says: Apr 8, 2010 12:11 AM

    Hey, I had exactly the same opinion of the three before Dilfer said a thing, or I even knew the guys had agents.
    I have not received any money for my opinions, even though I would be happy to do so and am quite willing to be a corrupt shill.
    Somewhere on this site you’ll find a remark from me stating that Clausen is the best QB prospect, Bradford is hugely overrated, and even that McCoy might be the best long term for his accuracy.
    So lay off Trent. He knows what he is talking about. I’ll vouch for him.

  30. THE RUBE says: Apr 8, 2010 12:22 AM

    Colt is the next Payton manning with the exception that he doesn’t throw as many TD’s and throws more INT’s. But he is white so he’ll probably win a SB or 2.

  31. Stone says: Apr 8, 2010 12:46 AM

    Or when he gives his assessment on the air, he also adds the caveat that he and McCoy share the same agent. Easy solution.

  32. BillsFan27 says: Apr 8, 2010 12:50 AM

    Trent Dilfer was a former player…? Huh. Who woulda thought.

  33. kpweaver27 says: Apr 8, 2010 12:55 AM

    Dilfer is probably the best NFL analyst– on ESPN anyways. I’ve always felt he is candid, direct, and without bias, so he had no reason to explain himself to me.
    For every single one of you who complained here, you’re the idiots fueling the idiot you want to complain about. Oh, who wants to hear about a mediocre retired NFL QB? YOU DO! Sports news is like any other news; garbage in, garbage out. What gets covered is what sells. You clicked on this link, and you probably go to PFT daily, if not multiple times a day, looking for up to the minute posts so you can tell us all how much you don’t care, or how everyone sucks but you.
    You suck. Like, 93% of you reading this right now. Yeah, you.

  34. NoHomeTeam says: Apr 8, 2010 1:35 AM

    hmmmm . . .
    The general level of hostility and dismissive commentary directed toward Dilfer by the denizens of this board make me think that maybe, just maybe, he may have a point. The fact that the Rams — who are known for smart decisions [eye roll] — appear to be locking onto Bradford, only adds weight to Trent’s opinion.

  35. mr_snrub says: Apr 8, 2010 3:23 AM

    Dilfer is actually one of the better analysts and comes across as candid and without a hidden agenda.
    I guess a lot of people just prefer the run of the mill saps who qualify every statement with wimpy disclaimers such as, I think; I believe; In my opinion, I don’t think; A case can be made; Arguably.
    Hey overpaid analyst guys, of course its your opinion. Who else would it be?

  36. Munze Konza says: Apr 8, 2010 5:17 AM

    “the safest approach for any on-air analyst would be to secure representation from a firm that does not represent the players that the analyst will be evaluating.”
    And let’s say they do and a year later a college kid graduates and hires the same firm. Then the analayst has to break his/her contract?! Ridiculous.

  37. Nambla Limbaugh says: Apr 8, 2010 5:26 AM

    Dilfer is da Man, Florio is da other Man and most of the posters on this website need to stop sniveling like prissy bitches in each and every thread. Have Barry Bond’s doctor prescribe you ladies some testosterone injections and STFU. That is all.

  38. SFrancis1680 says: Apr 8, 2010 5:27 AM

    listening to Trent Dilfer makes me miss Sean Salsbury…& I think Salsbury s#cked

  39. JNB says: Apr 8, 2010 6:26 AM

    A lot of you guys are saying Dilfer was a bust as an NFL player…. define “bust”?
    The guy played for 14 years in a league where the average player lasts less than 4 seasons. He went to the pro bowl once, and also won a Superbowl.
    I know the Ravens had a great defense that season (believe me, I do; I’m a Bengals fan. They held us to a combined 7 points that year). Still, he played very solid against the Giants in Superbowl XXXV. His numbers weren’t stellar, but he did throw a 38 yard touchdown and he didn’t turn the ball over.
    I’m not saying he was the greatest of all time. I’m not saying he’s a Hall of Famer. I’m just saying his career achievements outshine those of 90% of the quarterbacks who play at the NFL level. That’s not the definition of a bust.

  40. JNB says: Apr 8, 2010 6:32 AM

    I was wrong to say “a lot of people are saying Dilfer was a bust”. Actually, only one guy said that. Others are just insisting that he had a terrible career. I still respectfully disagree. David Klingler had a terrible career. Dilfer’s was respectable.

  41. shaunypoo says: Apr 8, 2010 7:32 AM

    I never mind listening to Dilfer. He may be influenced, but he comes across as level headed and intelligent, and presents his points in an articulate and coherent manner. He may not have been a very good QB, but not all the great ones are good on TV. Since alot of the players on the most popular teams try the media once they retire and they end up sucking on TV (See Smith, Emmitt and Bettis, Jerome), it is nice to see someone from a “smaller market” team get on TV and do well. It seems to me he is there because of his own merit, not the team he was on.
    Time will tell if he is right in any of his assertions. Even the scouts on the pro teams are wrong once in a while.

  42. TheDPR says: Apr 8, 2010 7:58 AM

    Trent Dilfer has always struck me as a genuine sort of guy. I could be wrong, as could Florio, but I think he gets the benefit of the doubt on this one.
    If it becomes a trend, then I’m sure Mike will call him out.

  43. jj jones says: Apr 8, 2010 8:27 AM

    Sounds like a huge conflict of interest.

  44. Bird Man says: Apr 8, 2010 8:37 AM

    So all someone has to do is call you and you’ll start kissing their ass?

  45. BroncoBourque says: Apr 8, 2010 8:46 AM

    @JNB
    Well said, Dilfer wasn’t a hall famer or even close but he was a solid NFL QB who played 14 years in the league and had a winning record as a starter. He was also a great college QB and a high draft pick so he knows more about the transition these QBs are about to make than most.
    I find it funny that people will criticize Dilfer’s credibility based on his career but guys like Kiper, McShay and other draft analysts who have never played a down in the NFL apparently would know more.

  46. BOO3LEGS says: Apr 8, 2010 8:52 AM

    Those who can play, do.
    Those who can’t play, coach.
    Those who can’t play or coach, talk.
    One of the only analysts on TV right now that was a former player that has no right to criticize QB’s. The only reason he has a job is because he is a good talker. He may not always know what he is talking about, be he’s a good talker.

  47. usher says: Apr 8, 2010 9:19 AM

    I’ve always thought that Dilfer was one of the better analysts out there and to his defense, I recall him being critical of Bradford prior to last year’s draft.

  48. WarrenMoonGOAT says: Apr 8, 2010 9:22 AM

    conflict of interest? dude who cares everyone has favorites

  49. rickt says: Apr 8, 2010 9:23 AM

    Do you think anyone actually listens to Dilfer other than a few uniformed fans? To think that his opinion may actually influence were a player is drafted is ridiculous.

  50. Bious says: Apr 8, 2010 7:34 PM

    Who the hell cares? I mean, why would his opinion make an ACTUAL difference on the draft? It wouldn’t
    So who cares?

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