Joe Linta the agent advises college players trying to get into the NFL.
Joe Linta the coach is about to help high school players trying to get college scholarships.
Linta has accepted the head coaching position at Hamden Hall, a private high school in Connecticut. No, he hasn’t soured on the representation business because of the NFL lockout. Linta simply can’t kick his coaching jones.
A coach at Yale for eight years, Linta not only will work with ninth through 12th graders now, but he’ll coach his sons Nick, a wide receiver, and T. J., a quarterback.
“They did a real nice job of recruiting me and making me feel special and that I could do a good job at the school,” said Linta, whose clients include Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and Patriots backup QB Brian Hoyer. “My sons are pretty on board with doing it. As a family, this will be a lot of fun, and the slowest time of the year in representation business is August through October.
“A lot of agents like to play golf. This is what I like to do, sort of like a hobby. I’ll probably spend the same number of hours a week doing this as they do playing golf.”
That would be about 20 to 30 hours a week; Linta already was spending four or five hours a day helping at the school. When head coach Ron Carbone stepped down, Linta first was kidded about going after the job. Soon, talks turned serious.
Linta notes his first commitment is to his NFL players, and to the college guys he signs once their season ends and their eligibility is up. That won’t change.
But the majority of his work as an agent comes from late November through June. The high school gig will run August-early November.
“I think they are really excited, they know my first priority is to them, but it is not a 24-hour thing doing this,” Linta said of the agent requirements.
“It’s a great opportunity for him to get back into coaching and also to be able to be with and coach his sons,” Hoyer said. “From my standpoint, my dad coached me and I know what that means.”
Hoyer remembers when Linta was recruiting him after his Michigan State career that Linta had more in-depth knowledge of the game from being a player and coach than most agents he met. Linta would call Hoyer after watching him play on TV and tell the quarterback what he could have done on various throws.
“He would watch my college games and he would say I made only two bad throws and what they were, and be dead on. Obviously, he had knowledge about what he was watching. Joe is not just a guy who is a lawyer who wanted to represent clients. He has a passion for the game.”
That passion has led him back to the sideline. He hopes to help Hamden Hall players _ including his sons, naturally _ get more looks from colleges. He’ll use NFL coaching principles, particularly on offense, and he knows how to break down film like a pro.
“I am the nut case that works guys out and watches film, so the coaching bug has never left me,” he said. “It’s certainly made me more able to evaluate players.
“I think it will be fun to have an NFL guy install an NFL-type offense and use some of the jargon.”
And use some of the NFL players. Linta said he will call on his guys who are in the area to do some teaching/coaching if the lockout continues.
Hoyer is all for that.
“I am close enough,” Hoyer said. “I am one of those football junkies, too. The hardest part of this (lockout) for me is missing being with the guys and not being around them throwing every day. It’s kind of awkward, so if he asked me to come down, I probably would.”
Linta likes hearing that.
“Sure, we will bring them in to work with the kids a few days at a time,” he said, “and hopefully I won’t have to pay them too much.”