Raghib "Rocket" Ismail is no longer just a football player. He's now a corporation called Team Rocket, formed to make millions from Ismail's talent and clean image.
"He's so marketable," says Ed Abram of Morcom Sports Enterprises, an Oakland, Calif., firm.Even before Ismail announced Thursday that he would skip his final year at Notre Dame to enter the NFL draft, he was assembling a squad of negotiators, advisers, litigators and investors.
"We're all part of Team Rocket," says Abram, an investment counselor who with partner and lawyer Louis Duvernay will negotiate Ismail's NFL contract.
The New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns, which hold the top two picks in the 1991 draft, have expressed an interest in Ismail. But neither team has made a decision.
"Rocket can make a great team greater, a good team great, and a bad team respectable," Abram says.