Former NFL agent Josh Luchs is leaving the business via firestorm. In the October 18th issue of Sports Illustrated, Luchs provides details on his 20 year career as an agent and name drops at least 30 former college football players that he allegedly paid thousands of dollars to. In addition to monetary gifts, he also states he provided meals, trips and concert tickets all of which are in violation of NCAA rules.
At least 8 of the players mentioned confirmed his allegations and several of them, including former USC receiver R. Jay Soward, said they took the payments because their scholarship didn’t provide enough money for rent and food.
• When informed of the allegation that he had accepted money from Luchs, Kanavis McGhee asked SI to call back the next day. He did not return subsequent phone and e-mail messages from SI.
• Greg Townsend confirmed the details of his relationship with Luchs.
• Chuck Webb could not be reached for comment (SI left messages for Webb through his family).
• Mel Agee, Harold (Doc) Daniels, Chris Mims, Travis Claridge and Leon Bender are deceased.
• Carl Greenwood, Othello Henderson, Matt Soenksen, Chris Alexander, Bruce Walker, Jonathan Ogden and Singor Mobley confirmed receiving money or extra benefits from Luchs.
• Jamir Miller, Tony Banks and John Rushing declined to comment.
• Ryan Fien, Joel Steed and Torey Hunter said they did not receive money from Luchs.
• Vaughn Parker said he knew Luchs but had no comment as to whether he took money from Luchs.
• Greg Thomas, Delon Washington and Darick Holmes did not respond to phone messages.
• Phalen Pounds said Luchs was “a good guy” but declined to comment as to whether he took money.
• Rob Waldrop denied that Luchs paid him. He recalled that he had lunch with Luchs and that Luchs offered to pay a friend in an effort to get to Waldrop, but he said that he did not accept any money.
• Ryan Leaf declined to comment on specific allegations. “I remember Josh,” Leaf said in a statement. “As I recall, he was an old hometown friend of one or two of my teammates and we all hung out a bit. I don’t remember him aspiring to be an agent. We were all about the same age and we were interested in having a good time more than anything else.”
• R. Jay Soward confirmed receiving money from Luchs.
• Gary Wichard’s lawyer, Howard Silber, said his client declined to comment.
• Mel Kiper denied that it was prearranged for him to call during the Willie Howard meeting or any other. “I would never have called Gary, but Gary and other agents often call me and ask me to speak to players,” said Kiper. “Gary is my friend, but I do that all the time for many different agents. I give players my opinion of them as football players. But I would never promote Gary or any other agent to a player.” As for the belief among some agents that he favors Wichard’s clients, Kiper said, “My player ratings are not related to my relationship with Gary or any other agent. There are many examples of players Gary represented who I have not ranked highly.” (Howard confirmed to SI Luchs’s account of Kiper’s calling during Howard’s meeting with Luchs and Wichard.)
• John Blake’s lawyer, William H. Beaver II, said his client declined to comment.
• Kenyon Coleman declined to comment.
• Jeremy Shockey did not respond to messages left through the Saints or his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
• Through a New York Jets spokesperson, Santonio Holmes denied taking money from any agent while in college or telling Luchs and Steve Feldman that he had taken money. Feldman confirmed to SI that Holmes told him and Luchs that an agent was paying him.