So who exactly is Ben Dogra, the mystery man feuding with the Vikings on behalf of Adrian Peterson?
The 49-year-old superagent currently represents 26 players, according to NFL Players Association records. His clients include superstars and Pro Bowl players such as Peterson, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman and Buffalo defensive end Mario Williams. And more star power is likely on the way this month: Dogra also represents defensive end Dante Fowler and receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, two prospects considered to be first-round talents.
For the most part, Dogra has kept a low profile and somehow managed to remain a curiosity while representing some of the NFL’s biggest stars, so much so that a 2008 New York Times article described him as “maybe the best football agent attracting the least attention.”
But as the Peterson drama has unfurled, Dogra has made headlines. At the scouting combine in February, he got into a well-publicized late-night shouting match with Vikings Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski. And at the owners meetings last month, he told reporters that he feels Peterson would benefit from a change of scenery — “I don’t think it’s in Adrian’s best interest to play in Minnesota. Why would it be?” — leading to more speculation about Peterson’s future.
Respected among agents and front-office executives for his bulldog-like nature in negotiations, and aided by his ability to relate with players and their families while recruiting them, Dogra has become one of the most powerful agents in football.
Born in India and raised in the Washington, D.C., area, Dogra attended George Mason University before graduating from the St. Louis University School of Law. He first began representing NFL players as an intern in 1993.
In 2006, his former agency, SFX Football, merged with CAA, still a top agency today. That year, he pulled off one of his biggest coups as an agent: helping to convince Houston to take Williams first overall in the draft, over star USC running back Reggie Bush and Texas quarterback Vince Young, a local hero from Houston. CAA, claiming just cause, fired Dogra in November, a move that caught many in the industry by surprise. Dogra, who has since joined forces with Relativity Sports, hired Rusty Hardin, the same lawyer who represents Peterson, and will reportedly sue CAA.
Despite all the turmoil, this offseason alone he has negotiated lucrative deals for players such as defensive end Jerry Hughes of Buffalo, outside linebacker Brian Orakpo of Tennessee and linebacker DeMeco Ryans of Philadelphia.
Dogra also represents veteran cornerback Terence Newman, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Vikings despite the Peterson-related animosity between the two parties.
Whether he likes it or not, all eyes will continue to be on Dogra in the coming weeks as the saga of his star Vikings running back plays out.