Clients like Brett Favre and Steve McNair enjoyed long careers in the NFL, and they were able to steer clear of any major controversies until late in their careers. Even then, no one batted an eye at Cook, and there was no reason to.
Even when Favre went through his highly-charged divorce from the Packers last year, no one really looked at Cook as being even partly responsible for what was going on. McNair had a similarly ugly divorce from Tennessee, but again, no one really blamed Cook for anything.
There have been a couple incidents this offseason that involve Cook clients, though, and when you combine them with the Favre disaster, it does make you wonder a little bit.
The highest-profile of these issues surrounds Denver quarterback Jay Cutler, who threw a fit when he learned that the Broncos were dangling him in an attempt to acquire former Patriots signal-caller Matt Cassel. In a conference call with Cutler and Cook this week, the Broncos seemed to think things went well. Leaks coming from the Cutler camp indicate that the call was disappointing.
Obviously, someone is lying.
If that's not enough, Ken Lucas, a Cook client who plays for the Carolina Panthers, may have cost himself a job after making it clear he would not play for the Detroit Lions, just as the Panthers were working on a trade with Detroit for Lucas. The decision means Lucas will either play for the $6.5 million he was scheduled to make in 2009 (whether it be for Carolina or a team more desirable than Detroit), he'll re-work the deal and probably get more money in the end, or he'll get cut by Carolina and be free to pick and choose his new team and new contract.
While there's no evidence that the agent had anything to do with these moves, it does seem a bit fishy. Cutler's case becomes even stranger if you believe this Peter King report from last week.
I heard one other interesting thing Sunday: Cutler asked for a trade shortly after the Broncos lost offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates -- Cutler's confidant -- to USC after the season. So maybe both sides need to go into marriage counseling here.Now, this report did come and go pretty quickly, so one could assume it's not true. However, King hasn't made his career out of making stuff up, and while I haven't heard any confirmation of this, I also haven't heard any denials.
If it is true, why would Cutler think he can just turn around and blame the Broncos for trying to trade him? Moreover, why would Cutler request a trade in the first place? It wasn't as if he could follow Bates somewhere, being that he had already burned up his eligibility and all.
Cook and Favre would have you believe that the Packers never wanted Favre to play for them again after that NFC Championship loss. Of course, the Packers would like it if you didn't believe that. Even after he admitted that he came back because he wanted to "stick it to (Packers GM) Ted (Thompson)", Favre could only get a classy statement from the Packers out of his re-retirement. While Green Bay took the high road in just about every way, Favre has tried multiple times to publicly harm the Thompson's reputation.
There is no obvious connection between Cook and the trouble that we saw in Packers camp last summer. However, common sense dictates that Cook was the one pushing at least a few of the buttons. When Favre retired for the first time in March of 2008, there was talk from Cook that Favre wanted to play another year, but he didn't feel the Packers wanted him back. Later in the summer, Pro Football Talk ran a report that Cook was pushing Favre to play in 2008. Just like the King/Cutler/trade story, these things don't just appear out of the air.
Normally, such reports would be taken with a grain of salt. However, consider that Thompson is well-known for his way of doing things. He prefers keeping things close to the vest. He's not a pot-stirrer, and those who know him describe him as being extremely honest. The bottom line is that when Thompson says the team wanted Favre to come back, no one has a single reason not to believe him.
Now that Favre and McNair gone, and Randy Moss is under contract for a couple more years, Cook no longer has a high-profile meal ticket. Is he trying to angle to get Cutler more money somewhere? Is he trying to get Cutler in a position to go someplace that would fit his talents more?
(That can't be, right? Cutler threw for over 4,500 yards and was a Pro Bowler last season. And new Denver coach Josh McDaniels is known as a young offensive mastermind. Why would he want to leave?)
You can say what you want about Cook. He's definitely good at his job, and he is able to give his clients a lot of attention because he doesn't have a huge roster of athletes he works for. You don't hear his clients complaining a lot about their contracts.
However, you can also understand frustrations that some may have with him. He could very well be stirring the pot in the Cutler saga, and it's pretty obvious that he did at least some of that with Favre and the Packers. Cook had better be careful, or a near picture-perfect public image (at least as far as agents go) could come crumbling down in front of him.