By Phil Stacey Sports editor
The Salem News
---- — FOXBOROUGH — Of the many principles he lives his life by, one of Sean Stellato’s favorite quotes was sung by the late, great Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra:
“The best is yet to come.”
The Salem native and NFL Player Agent wholeheartedly believes that. His unbridled enthusiasm and love for what he does is infectious, and it rubs off on his clients and the services he provides for them.
“Sean is second to none,” said cornerback Kyle Arrington, one of two New England Patriots that Stellato represents, after last night’s 31-21 win over the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium.
A NFL PLayers Association certified contract advisor, Stellato is part of KLASS Sports, a three-person sports agency and marketing firm based in Wellesley and Atlanta.
“We’ve had an agreement with each other from Day 1: I go out there and play as hard as I can, and Sean takes care of everything off the field. He does it all. No one works harder for me than he does.”
Starting defensive tackle Kyle Love, who was credited with three tackles yesterday, said it was from talking to Arrington that he first got involved with Stellato.
“I reached out to Sean because I liked what he was doing for Kyle (Arrington),” said Love, who butted heads for much of the day yesterday with Denver’s 6-foot-6, 315-pound right guard, Manny Ramirez. “It was a no-brainer for me to switch over (to him).
“I’m not into all that big agency stuff; I like what Sean does, the 1-on-1 attention he provides. It’s kind of like (the movie) Jerry Maguire.”
‘Quality over quantity’
A 34-year-old father of three with his wife, Krista, Stellato’s other clients include Pittsburgh Steelers running back Isaac Redman, tackle Charlie Bryant of the San Diego Chargers, former Patriots linebacker Gary Guyton, now with the Miami Dolphins; tight end Colin Cloherty (most recently with the Jacksonville Jaguars) and tackle Mike McCabe (formerly with the Green Bay Packers).
The average life span of an NFL player is 3.4 years, so it’s important for them to maximize their value not only as players, said Stellato, but to also maximize their monetary, marketing and branding, and charitable opportunties.
For both Arrington and Love, they saw a demand for more personal attention and attention to detail from the person who represented them.
“Quality over quantity, that’s why I chose Sean,” said Arrington, who had five tackles (4 solo) yesterday. He’s now in the second year of a contract that pays him $850,000.
The 26-year-old Arrington, like Stellato, comes from a close family that helped shape who he is. They also share another bond: both played college football at the Division 1-AA level (Arrington at Hofstra, Stellato at Marist).
“Kyle’s a real, real special, genuine person,” Stellato said of Arrington. “He and I have a lot of symmetry and family values in common.”
Responsible for covering the slot receiver — yesterday, that was primarily the Broncos’ Brandon Stokely — Arrington will be featured next year in an NBC Sports program, set up by Stellato. It tells the story of his upbringing in Accokeek, Maryland, the close relationship he maintains with his parents (”I see something so genuine in all of them,” said Stellato), his coming out of Hofstra as an undrafted free agent and being cut by both the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before finally finding his niche in New England.
Going from the practice squad to special teams, the 5-foot-10, 196-pounder finally broke into the Patriots’ starting lineup at cornerback two games into the 2010 season. Last year Arrington tied for the NFL lead in interceptions (7); this coming from a player who had two career interceptions in college.
After picking off two passes against Kansas City on Monday Night Football last November, Arrington threw one of the balls he snared to Stellato at the 50-yard line. “I played Arena Football, but that was my first NFL reception,” Stellato said with a laugh.
In Sports Illustrated’s football preview issue last month, it stated that Arrington had opponents throw his way 100 times last season, the 16th most in the NFL. More impressive is that only 52 of those passes were completed, putting him in excellent defensive secondary company with the likes of Pro Bowlers such as Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson.
Living the dream
The 6-foot-1, 315-pound Love, who was also an undrafted free agent before signing with the Patriots in 2010, saw the type of attention and service that Arrington was getting from KLASS Sports and wanted the same thing for himself.
In August, Stellato helped negotiate a contract extension for Love through the 2013 season.
A father-to-be — his wife is set to deliver a baby boy in December — Love often receives motivational text messages from his father, a retired Army colonel. The one he received Saturday night was particularly long and hit home with Love, touching on topics such as playing through pain and elevating his energy and focus to remembering how well he played senior year of college against Alabama and to play for his unborn son.
“It was the best text I ever got from him,” said Love. “What I do now will affect my son in the future, the same way my father affected me and how I am as a man.”
A former middle and high school celloist (”I wanted to give it up, but my mother wouldn’t let me,” he said), Love embodies the type of player that Stellato hopes to add to his list of clients: hard working, shunning the limelight, focused on doing his job to the best of his ability.
“I can inspire and influence a lot of lives, and I love that about my job,” said Stellato. “I’m living my dream every day, and having guys like Kyle and Kyle as clients makes it that much better.”