Drew Rosenhaus is a 1987 graduate of the University of Miami and, in 1990, obtained a law degree from Duke University School of Law. Drawing heavily on his college connections, sixteen of Rosenhaus' 90 NFL clients are fellow University of Miami alumni.
Rosenhaus is believed to be a member of the "Miami Mafia," a small but very tight-knit group of prominent, influential University of Miami alumni involved in business, politics and sports. The group, which includes University of Miami alumni from the 1980s and early 1990s, is known for their close and sometimes secretive professional and social collaborations that usually have included extensive reciprocal professional support for each other.
Advocating holdouts and other aggressive tactics
Rosenhaus is famously known both for his aggressive and sometimes risky approaches to the representation of his NFL clients, and also for often generating unpredictably large contracts for them. He represents some of the best-known and most flamboyant personalities in professional football.
Due to his aggressive dealings, some of Rosenhaus' competitors claim Rosenhaus sometimes violates NFL Player's Association (NFLPA) rules by illegally contacting clients signed with other agents. Rosenhaus and his clients deny this charge. His competitors also claim that Rosenhaus uses players to vigorously recruit other NFL players and prospects, which, if true, also would represent a violation of NFLPA policies. According to the NFLPA, however, there have been no formal findings of violations of their policies by Rosenhaus, though Rosenhaus' approaches to client representation are considered some of the most controversial in professional football.
1998: A Shark Never Sleeps
Rosenhaus is the subject of a 1998 biography, A Shark Never Sleeps: Wheeling and Dealing with the NFL's Most Ruthless Agent. In addition to his appearance in Jerry Maguire, Rosenhaus appeared in another movie about professional football, Any Given Sunday, released in 1999.
2003: Representation of Willis McGahee
One prominent example of Rosenhaus' success as an agent was his representation of former University of Miami star running back Willis McGahee, who, in January 2003, suffered a disastrous, potentially career-ending knee injury in his final college game (the Fiesta Bowl, which was the national championship game that year; Miami lost to Ohio State in overtime) and, one month after the injury, signed with Rosenhaus with the goal of obtaining an NFL contract.
Rosenhaus predicted that, under his representation, McGahee would be a first-round NFL draft pick in the 2003 NFL draft. A seemingly arrogant prediction at the time, Rosenhaus also offered to waive his standard three-percent commission and work for free if McGahee failed to be drafted in the first round. During the Draft, cameras would cut to live shots of McGahee and Rosenhaus talking on their cellular phones, giving the impression that they were communicating with teams interested in drafting McGahee. What wasn't known until after the Draft was that McGahee was, in fact, talking to Rosenhaus, seated right next to him. Surprising to many, the Buffalo Bills picked McGahee in the first round as the 23rd overall choice in the draft. This was despite the fact that McGahee, still suffering from a devastating knee injury, started his career with the Bills not only unable to play, but barely able to walk. After successful reconstructive surgery and intensive rehabilitation, McGahee signed a five-year contract with Bills worth about $16 million. McGahee is currently one of the NFL's most promising young running backs.
July 2005: Saving a life in Orlando
While Rosenhaus is unpopular in some corners for his confrontational negotiation on behalf of his NFL clients, he received very positive national attention on July 19, 2005, when he saved the life of a four-year-old boy, Maurice Hill. Hill had no pulse and had essentially drowned in the pool at the Grand Floridian Hotel in Orlando. Rosenhaus, a former lifeguard, dove into the pool, pulled Hill out of the pool and administered CPR until paramedics arrived and restored the youngster's breathing.
Rosenhaus was credited with saving the young boy's life. Regarding the event, Rosenhaus joked that he "put down his phone" for a change. "I was thrilled to help the boy. It was nice to be a good guy for once," Rosenhaus said.
His list of major clients has included some very famous names:
- Terrel Owens
- Javon Walker
- Jeremy Shockey
- Warren Sapp
- Clinton Portis