Podcast Alert: Terrell Jones – Flexpower
Terrell Jones – Head of Sports Strategic Partnerships at Flexpower – has had a unique career in sports. He began as a strength coach for the San Francisco 49ers and has worked in athlete representation, and now on the brand side with Flexpower, a CBD and wellness brand founded in 2000.
He’s worked directly with 12 NFL Hall of Famers, and brings that experience to Flexpower’s sports marketing strategy.
2:35 – Terrell’s background
5:20 – CBD 101
10:25 – FlexPower’s history/overcoming racism
14:40 – Terrell’s time with the 49ers
20:10 – What does Terrell look for in a partnership?
Terrell Jones: [00:00:00] Sometimes when I’ve been at some of these personal events, and you can just tell the athletes there just for the money and the energy’s not there and just like, okay, I’m not really feeling this right now. So does that make you really want to buy the product? Probably not. You get more out of an athlete if they believe in the product they use the product, if they love the product. Because that energy that they give you when they’re shooting a commercial or radio spot, whatever it is, or they’re doing a personal appearance, you’re gonna feel it.
AJ Maestas: Hello and welcome to the Navigating Sports Business Podcast. I’m your host, AJ Maestas, founder of Navigate a data-driven consulting firm, guiding major strategies and decisions in sports and entertainment. We started this podcast hoping to share the [00:01:00] interesting stories and experiences of the amazing people we get to work with at Navigate.
And even though they’re visionaries and famous, in many instances, their true stories aren’t often heard. Since they’re not on the playing field, our hope is you get to know them better and learn from them. As we have
Today. I am happy to be joined by Terrell Jones, head of Sports Strategic Partnerships at Flex Power. How are you doing, Terrell?
Terrell Jones: I’m doing great, AJ. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
AJ Maestas: Yeah. I’m so glad to have you here. And you know what’s so great is you know where I’m sitting at right now, that you’ve been at my house.
Terrell Jones: Right, I do. I do. So, yes.
AJ Maestas: Yeah. And I hope you met good people at the party, by the way. We were just at a Super Bowl party together, is what I’m referring to. For those listening,
Terrell Jones: we weren’t there together. You hosted it. So I was there as a guest. .
AJ Maestas: Yeah. Yeah.
Terrell Jones: It was great.
AJ Maestas: Yeah, I’m trying to sound cool when in reality, being a host with that many people is really just a, I’m running around making introductions, so I didn’t get to have a lot of deep, meaningful conversations, , which is sad, but that’s your job, right? When you’re connecting good people together.[00:02:00]
Terrell Jones: Exactly. Especially when you have over 500 people there. It’s hard to connect, to have deep conversations with everybody. Well, at least you and I got to have a few minutes and got to introduce ourselves and have a brief conversation, which I enjoyed. Thank you.
AJ Maestas: Yeah, and I’m glad you got to meet all those people. We’re so lucky to be surrounded by amazing people. It was oversubscribed, by the way. The party was not supposed to be that big. We were over we, but that’s, these are champagne problems with a lot more people than we planned on. But anyway, I meant to get into your career a little bit, if you don’t mind.
Terrell Jones: Oh, sure.
AJ Maestas: Um, cuz you, you don’t often see someone leading a business like this, but having served on the player personnel side, so you served in the Air Force. Thank you for your service right away.
Terrell Jones: My pleasure.
AJ Maestas: Um, but, but your first big job in sports was the strength coach for the San Francisco 49ers. How did that happen?
Terrell Jones: So coming from the service, I was a deputy sheriff in Minneapolis. I was just fortunate enough to get a degree while I was in this service, and I just decided that, you know what, I didn’t wanna do this anymore. So what I did is I was going to go back to school and get a degree in kinesiology, and I started researching about schools in California and San Jose, Sacramento, were, San Jose [00:03:00] State were some of the best schools there. There were. So got in, got involved in the, the kinesiology department, started getting my degree, and one of the things that you have to do is to have an in, I knew that I wanted to be a strength and conditioning coach, but I thought I was just gonna be a high school strength and conditioning coach.
So I reached out to this guy named Mike Clark. Who at the time was at Texas A and M. He was considered one of the best strength coaches in the world. And I just reached out to him and said, Hey, this is what I want to do. I’m not sure how to go about this. Can you help me? He spent 90 minutes on the phone with me, give me the blueprint basically on how to achieve to get into the strength and conditioning world, and from there I just applied for an internship with the Niners.
Walked in out of 75 applicants. I was the only one that had a shirt and a tie on, and I had a notebook full of questions , and I sat down.
AJ Maestas: Did Mike, did you like that?
Terrell Jones: Oh, so you know the Niners at the time was Jerry Hadaway, Mike Barnes. I sat in and they were like, you’re the only one that walked in with the shirt and tie on. Some people were walking in with, Athletic gear on it. I said this is an interview, so this is what you’re supposed to do. And I had my list of [00:04:00] questions, and so when they were done asking me questions, I started asking them questions. They’re like, oh, this doesn’t happen on an everyday basis. And I’m like, I’m curious.
They’re like, okay. So two days later, I’m in the shower. My then girlfriend at the time comes knocking on the door. She goes, the Niners are on the phone, Niners are on the phone. So I’m rushing to the phone. I’ve got shampoo in my hair, a little soap in my eyes, like the phone. They’re like, yeah, we’d like to offer you the internship.
I’m like, absolutely. So I took the internship, and from there I was only supposed to be there for three months. I worked my butt off. Whatever they needed me to do, whether it’s strength conditioning, whether it’s the equipment, people, whatever it took. I was like, I will do it. And it turned into a year internship and then they brought me back and I made it a career.
AJ Maestas: Good for you. And you worked for other NFL teams, right?
Terrell Jones: So yeah, so I worked for the 49ers for seven years and then I went and worked for the Buccaneers for a year as well.
AJ Maestas: I love that origin story, especially because we have a decent amount of sports MBA students that listen to our podcast where. You’re thinking like, what is this first job? How am I supposed to be paid? What does it [00:05:00] look like? And that’s really old school, right? Going in there, low pay, intern, cold call your way in showing up in a suit and tie. So I appreciate that and I appreciate the, I don’t know, the grit that it takes to have that be the beginning path. It’s not easy.
Terrell Jones: No, it’s not. But it was. But it works. So
AJ Maestas: yeah, it works. And that was the pathway for so many people right before. So now you’re in the CBD world and what a competitive marketplace, right? Everywhere I turn, I don’t know what to do. By the way. I’m one of those is where I’m like, oh, okay. Is there quality, longitudinal research on is this really affecting inflammation?
So I’m looking forward to an education from you on this beyond what we’ve talked about before. And then there’s a ton of athletes, right? That that former athletes, just like your business, right, that have CBD brands or they’re launching their own brands. So I would love an overview of the space, like what do we need to know if everyone listening is as ignorant as I am.
Terrell Jones: The thing about CBD, and you’re right, and this is not my first, my first gig in the CBD world, I did with a company prior to, and they had really good products, but it was just [00:06:00] poor management of the investors that came in. And the thing about what with CBDs, You wanna make sure that number one, that it’s fully tested in that all the ingredients on the package are actually in the product. And I will tell you this, from having several knee surgeries and shoulder surgeries, that CBD has been the best remedy for me when it comes to inflammation, pain relief. But again, you just have to find the right CBD product that’s out there.
To me, it’s like anything else. Some that are good and there’s some that are just horrible. And of course, with our products, I consider us the best in the market because we’re all natural. It’s very well tested. Flex Power’s a company, and I’ve been using Flex Power, the warm topical lotion for about 20 plus years.
I even was using one with the Niners. The founder, Rasheen Smith, who’s a really good friend of mine, brought it to us at the Niners, and I was just, Okay, what is this stuff? And I tried, it’s like, whoa, wait a minute. You can feel the warmness of it, but there’s no [00:07:00] smell to it. It’s not that Ben gay or that tiger balm.
So we, so you can put it on and you can walk around afterwards and not, not offend anybody, . So I was like, okay, this is good. And, and I, again, he and Rasheen and I became really good friends. The players loved it. One of our players is Garrison Hurst at the time, and I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Garrison Hurst and his story, that during the 1998 playoffs, he broke his ankle. And so they just thought it was just a, your typical break. They went and did surgery. They got in deep into it and they found out that basically the bone was dying. And they’re like, we’re not sure if he’s ever gonna play again. So after multiple surgeries, they were able to get the blood flow going.
But one of the things that we use with Garrison, because I work with him almost probably every day, getting them back for 18 months, was we were using Flex Power on his ankle. and it helped with the inflammation. This is way before CBD, CBD wasn’t even in the picture. It was just the warm that we were using.
It helped with the inflammation. It helped with the pain relief so that he wouldn’t have to take so many painkillers or take Advil, and it helped [00:08:00] and I’m very fortunate and honored to say that because of our training staff, medical staff, everybody involved. Garrison came back onto the field 18 months later, won comeback player of the year, went to the Pro Bowl and to this day, and I just saw Garrison a couple of months ago and I told him, I said, look i’m at flex power now.
He still uses it. So it’s one of those products that I truly believe in. And I will tell you this, being in the sports world and the strength and conditioning world for so many years, that you get approached by so many different products. And if you don’t do your research or your homework or have somebody send it to an independent lab and have it tested, then guess what?
Then you could be not knowingly pitching or endorsing a product that doesn’t have all the ingredients in there that like they say it has on the package. And it could come back. It could come back and get you. So you have to be really careful.
AJ Maestas: I appreciate you saying that, by the way. Like I have heard someone say before, independent third party lab tested, but what is going on? If you don’t mind sharing the succinct story with me, because I truly am totally ignorant on this subject. It [00:09:00] has anti-inflammation attributes, impacts what is happening to my body. Is this legitimately researched and tested? Not just CBD Flex Power in general.
Terrell Jones: Yeah, no, yeah it’s, research is tested over, over years and years. And again, with me being in the sports business as long as I have been, again, I did my own research. We had it sent to, when I was with the Niners, we had it sent to an independent lab actually in Germany. They tested everything that was in the ingredients on the label was actually in the lotion. And here’s a sad thing about when people get hurt is. That the pharmaceutical business wants you to take pills because that’s how they make their money. When there’s alternative ways to relieve the inflammation, to relieve the pain, that’s gonna be healthier for you to where it’s not going to affect your kidneys or your liver. And I think sometimes that people, they rely on their doctors of course, but also to, I just think that sometimes people are just lazy.
They don’t want to do the research. And nowadays with. Google, there’s a quick way to find certain things that have been tested, that are certified, that’s [00:10:00] going to get over whatever aches and pains that you have. And we all know as you get older, you start feeling a little bit more inflammation, a little bit more aches and pains.
But like this morning when I woke up, it was like 30 degrees here in San Jose, and my knee was telling me, oh, it’s a little chilly here today. I was like, yeah, I can feel that. But yeah,
AJ Maestas: yeah, I feel it now. I work out daily and so every morning it takes, it’s a little slower up each morning, . I’m probably not giving myself enough recovery time.
And I see your business was founded by an athlete. You’re 20 years in the business. Pretty interesting leadership group.
Terrell Jones: Yeah, so Flex Power, it’s black founded Rasheen Smith woman led company. Heather Vandenberg, again came from luxury brands, but we’re all inclusive. And that’s one thing besides knowing Rasheen and the product, but that’s one thing that led me to join the company is that they’re all inclusive in the leader, the executive team that we have.
AJ Maestas: Yeah. Wow. I can’t tell you how rare that is. I actually can tell you how rare, but I don’t want to, it’s embarrassing. I’m in this organization called YPO. It’s like a peer-to-peer support group for presidents, and basically we’re always looking at our statistics of businesses that meet certain qualifications [00:11:00] and it’s shocking. Women run businesses that are big enough to be a part of this thing. Eight, nine, 10%. And then you look at people of color and so yeah, black owned, black founded woman run. That is something to be proud of.
Terrell Jones: Yeah. And this, this is a saying within inside the black community in black culture is that we always feel that we have to do five to ten times more and work harder, and I feel women probably feel the same thing to get ahead than anybody else, which, but again, I’m happy to be a part of this company because we all have the same goals and the same mission statements. And even though that I’m the new, I’m the rookie on the block. It’s just like the support and the resources that I have from them has been phenomenal and so fantastic.
Let me share the story with, with inside the NFL, my first year that I got to go with the combine, which again, I am just like blown away because I’m at the combine and I’m seeing all these coaches and stuff.
AJ Maestas: Yeah.
Terrell Jones: So I’m standing off to the side and it was for the, uh, vertical jump and I’m listening with all these other strength coaches that are standing in front of me and one [00:12:00] of the strength coaches said, I hear that the Niners hired a new assistant strength coach. And they’re like, yeah, he did. And the guy said, I hear it’s an affirmative action hire. And I’m standing there, right? And I’m standing behind him. So he didn’t see me. And so I just walked up to him and I said, Hey. I said, by the way, I’m that hire, and it was not affirmative action. I said, I worked my way to get there. And he said, well, you didn’t go through the proper channels. I said, what’s the proper channels? He goes, you didn’t work in college first. I said, there’s no proper channel. You’re, you’re talented and you work hard, then you deserve a shot.
And he just, of course, all the people that I stand with, they got quiet. So we fast forward three years later, guess who calls me for a job? This person calls me and he says, Hey. He goes, I just got fired and I’m looking for a job. And I said, you know what? I said, I would like to help you, but I said, I’m sorry, but we filled our quota for the year.
AJ Maestas: I thought you were about to say, you’re gonna have to take the proper channels, but uh, that’s interesting. I did a podcast about a year ago with Gene Smith, the athletic director at Ohio State.
Terrell Jones: I heard that podcast, by the way.
AJ Maestas: Oh, I’m so flattered.
Terrell Jones: I listened to that one. [00:13:00] Yes.
AJ Maestas: Thank you for doing so well. Then you might remember, and I’m sharing this in case anyone listening wants to dig that one up, as well as a very young man in young for any sex, creed, race, ethnicity, et cetera. To be a first time athletic director and some of the comments that he had to deal with in round table settings and have to keep a stiff upper lip and remind himself that he deserved a seat to that table and remembering those who spoke up on his behalf. I thought that was, that was a pretty, pretty cool and illustrative story, right, of the plight of someone who is othered or being othered in a room.
Terrell Jones: Right. You know what, and I had to learn this very quickly. Sometimes the things you want to say, you can’t say, but there’s a way to say it intelligently to get your point across to where all of a sudden they’re just like, oh, I get it. And it makes them aware of the comments that they’ve made. You know, without being that angry black person in the room, I’m just like, and again, I had a, it took me a couple years to learn it, but I was like, you know what?
If I come across and hit ’em with kindness, [00:14:00] or just touch the right button then they’ll be like, okay, I understand now.
AJ Maestas: Yeah. Gene Smith had a very similar comment as well that if anyone’s willing to listen that that I think took the high road, get reminded somebody. It’s the most subtle message that resonates right. The person knows that they practically the moment it came outta their mouth, they probably realized it and,
Terrell Jones: Right.
AJ Maestas: You just need to let know You heard it . That’s enough.
Terrell Jones: Exactly. One thing that they have to understand that we’re all human beings. We all bleed red. And that setting you’re in, we’re all there probably for the same reason as to better the world, the better the industry, the sport that we’re in. So we have to find a way to work together no matter what it is.
AJ Maestas: Yeah. I’m looking at your wall of fame behind you, I’m assuming that’s Jerry Rice right there. Is that Mexico City with fists rays?
Terrell Jones: Yes, Mexico City. So the one with Jerry Rice, an artist did a limited edition of of these sketchings and paintings and I just happened to be around at the Niners at the time when he was selling these and we just hit it off and he says, Hey, let me just give you one. I’m like, oh, [00:15:00] that’s cool. Yeah. So I have that. Coach Walsh is behind me. Coach Walsh was my mentor at the Niners.
Great story about Coach Walsh, is that after my internship and they brought me back and to this day, I’m not sure how this happened, but the Indianapolis Colts reached out to the Niners and said, Hey, we understand you have this young strength and conditioning coach. We would like to bring him on full-time or interview him. And Coach Walsh said, no. He brought me in. He brought me into the offensive meeting room and I, AJ I can visually see this like it was yesterday.
I’m sitting one of these desks like you’re in school, like one of these little desks. Coach Walsh is sitting across from me. He tells me, you know about the Colts and he says, but we have a contract for you. I’m like, okay. So he slides the contract to me. It’s my first professional sports contract. I’m looking over the contract, the money for me, the money didn’t matter.
And I was looking at it like, okay, and he’s, what do you think? So I’m trying to play it cool, but I was like, okay, I think I like this. So I signed it like right away, . So I slide it back to him and he said, okay. He goes, so I’m gonna give you a bit of advice. I’m like, okay. He goes number one. We [00:16:00] are going to do things and help you get better because if we all get fired, then they’re gonna want to keep you.
I’m like, okay. And this is like circling my brain. This is Bill Walsh. This is Coach Walsh. To me, the greatest NFL coach innovator there there ever was. And I’m like, okay. And then he said, he looked slides me my business cards and said, these are gold. Do not abuse them, but use them. You have to learn how to network, because you never know what’s gonna happen from one year to the next. And I was like, okay. And we would have conversations once a week, just whatever, whatever it was. And to this day, I still have his phone number in my phone. I will never delete it because you have a person like that comes into your life with that stature who takes interest in you. So yeah.
AJ Maestas: That’s pretty cool. Yeah. Big time Hall of Famer. You’re lucky to even have his time. I assume this means you’re a 49ers fan.
Terrell Jones: Yes, 49ers fan, but I grew up a Vikings fan cuz I’m from Minnesota originally.
AJ Maestas: Yeah, you’re a traitor
Terrell Jones: you know what? I still root for the Vikings on certain occasions, [00:17:00] but it’s, but it’s Niners cuz I still have a lot of connections with the Niners, yes.
AJ Maestas: No, I get that. When you go to work there, it’s such a formative part of your life and your story and all that kind of stuff. You always seem to have these exciting stories. You’re always sports events, teams, famous athletes. I’m hoping you’re willing to entertain us a little bit with some of the highlights over your lifetime.
Terrell Jones: Man, there. There, there’s so many. So let me, . Let me tell you about the first time I walked onto the practice field for the Niners. My first day as an intern, I walked out there and I was just stood there and just looked at the fields like, I cannot believe that I’m here. Because when I left the sheriff’s department, a lot of people told me that I was doing the wrong thing.
They were like, we had this career path for you. We want you to go to narcotics and all this other stuff. It’s like, that’s not what I have. And so once I was there, I was just like in aw. But then I remembered that I have a job to do. So then Coach Mariucci brings me into the team meeting room. He introduces me and I, I’m looking across the room.
There’s Steve Young, there’s Jerry Rice, there’s Chris Doman, [00:18:00] there’s, I think Charles Haley was there at the time, Terry Kirby. We had so many people that I was just like, wow. Like I’ve watched them, watched these people. But then of course, Coach Mariucci, you remind me as well, you have a job to do, so get your stuff together and be the best you can be. I’m like, okay, that’s great. But our GM at the time was Dwight Clark and Dwight. He’s the one that kept me on as well with Coach Walsh and Coach Mariucci,and my bosses. So it was, again, it was surreal to be around all these wonderful athletes that I had watched on TV before.
But yeah, I mean, it’s amazing of the career that I’ve had. I can’t tell you how many playoff games I’ve been a part of NFC championship game. Being there when Steve Young’s last game, Garrison. But when Garrison retired, it goes on and on. And just the people that I was able to meet because of the Niners and people that I’m still in connection with today.
So it’s been it. It’s been a wonderful career and there’s no way that I would take it for granted because I am fortunate and I just sit back and I remember some [00:19:00] of the great days, sorry. I’m sure that you watched the Super Bowl and all the award shows with the NFL. Ronde Barber, just, he’s going into the Hall of Fame and I was on the coaching staff with Ronde when he was a player, with the Buccaneers, so that this is gonna be my 12th person, whether I worked with them or coached them, that’s going into the Hall of Fame. I’m just proud to have to be a part of their careers.
AJ Maestas: That is really cool. And you have, you’ve gotta have some rings, right? For the years you were there.
Terrell Jones: I don’t, so I saw the, so I missed the Niners by two years. I missed Tampa Bay by two years as well. But I have championships from conference championships or division championships.
I’ve got balls from that. And the, I just give out, if you win the division. They give you a belt buckle, which I still have as well. I’ve got autographed balls from guys. I’ve got Garrison’s, last helmet. I got his last shoes, Kenny Norton when he retired. I’ve got his last shoes that he wore as well. I’ve got stuff from Jeff Garcia when he retired, so I have a lot of stuff.
Again, I’m just again, fortunate.
AJ Maestas: Yeah. I’m looking at your office. [00:20:00] That could double as a man cave behind you here, listeners don’t get to see. But I have no doubt, there’s no doubt in my mind. I’d love to know what kind of partnerships you’re looking for and you gotta be careful cuz then you might get a flood of people pitching you. But it’s such a crowded space that truly treat me like a complete outsider. What are you trying to get done?
Terrell Jones: So what we’re in right now is we’re doing a lot of luxury brands cuz our CEO, Heather Vandenberg, who’s great, she came from Louis Vuitton. , and she was with Westfield Malls as well, so she knows the luxury brands like the back of her hand.
So we’ve been doing that, but then they brought me on to help elevate the sports side. And so we’re strategically looking at partners. We’re talking to a few athletes that have used the product, who love the product to, to come on. We’re looking at spas. We’re looking at luxury hotels. We’re in probably, I think we’re in 10 NBA training rooms right now. We’re in some NCAA training rooms. One of our biggest clients just happened to win the Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs also. We have them. We’re looking to get into [00:21:00] more spaces that’s going to help people more than anything else. And again, if, if athletes reach out to us. We’ll, listen, we’re a small company, but we’re very strategic and they have to align with our mission statement as well.
The luxury brands, the same thing. Spas, we’re looking at them as well.
AJ Maestas: And what is that mission statement?
Terrell Jones: The mission statement is to provide a healthy, all natural product that’s going to help with your everyday life. If you’re moving, you want to feel good. It is like the old saying that if you feel good, you’re gonna be more productive throughout the.
And that’s our mission statement is you feel good, you’re gonna move good. And we want people to be more active and move. And we know with Covid that certain people probably aren’t going to the office as much, or you know, We were in a lockdown, but we, we want people to go out there and just move. I don’t care if it’s a walk for 20 minutes or go exercise, go do yoga, walk your dog, do something, and if you feel these aches and pains, you know what? Our product will help you overcome some of those aches and pains as well.
AJ Maestas: By the [00:22:00] way, I can’t resist asking about a potential. Economic downturn cuz we’re doing all this homework right now to help our clients sort of, I don’t know, it’s better to prepare for it and it not happen. Right. But one of the drums we’ve been beating here is that brands that increase marketing spend during session recover three times faster. They also capture market share. So just for fun, if you’re willing to reveal, is it full steam ahead here? Are you cutting back?
Terrell Jones: I, no, it’s for, for us it’s full steam ahead, but we are being very strategic and careful how we spend but we know we build through our team and the contacts that we have that we can hit the market and be a major play in the market by being strategic and being careful on how we spend our money. So.
AJ Maestas: That’s the hard part is you can’t, in a bullet or one infographic explain that. Like obviously these people aren’t just throwing money everywhere. They’re being really intelligent. There’s often a pivot in it or the message is changed or something, but the results are pretty consistent. The brands that keep investing but never [00:23:00] last forever, right? It’s actually an opportunity to steal market share. It’s an opportunity to leapfrog competitors when everyone else is cutting, as scary as it might seem in normal times, let’s say they’re spending twice as much, you have to spend twice as much just to stay in theory, on a level playing ground with them.
We see it as one of those sort of leapfrog opportunities and history would say as much. Uh, now I don’t know if we’re selfishly sharing that cuz we want people to keep spending in, keep the world in order. But I know we, we lived that through Covid.
Terrell Jones: Yeah. So let me tell you, When we’re looking what we call our brand ambassadors or friends of the house, when we bring people on, we know we vett them. We vett them hard, and I will give you some examples. So when I left the NFL, I became a sports agent. And I did that for a couple years, but then I found a niche to where I could actually help certain companies vet athletes, and there’s a few companies out there. What they’ll do is they’ll like go for the big fish or go for the shining object at the moment.
So I’ll give you an example. A friend of mine was working for eBay, so I was consulting, I was helping him [00:24:00] look at some athletes and they wanted to go after a big time golfer who had just won the Masters. And they said, no, it wasn’t Tiger Woods. And I said, don’t do it because now it’s gonna cost you more money since they And the masters.
And they were just like, okay, but we like this person. I said, but yeah, but there’s other golfers I feel that are up and coming that can grow with the company. They threw a lot of money at this particular golfer and it just didn’t work out. But that’s where some of these companies don’t know how to vet these athletes and look at ’em. Say, yeah, this person won this tournament, or they just won the MVP, but who’s behind them that’s up and coming? That could actually accomplish the same feats that they did, and it’s not gonna cost us millions of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they can grow with a company as well. So that’s where I come in with Flex Power and Heather and our crew, is that we look at these whether it’s athletes or whomever it is, we look at ’em all together and say again, does this person align with our goals?
If they come with a big ask, is it worth it? In my personal opinion, I think there’s, unless [00:25:00] you’re a big company like a GE or something like that, you have the money to spend. Why not? But if you’re a small company like us, there’s other ways we can put our resources towards, but we can find these athletes that could help us and who believe in our products.
AJ Maestas: That’s good. You’d be amazed at how little rigor exists at some really big companies on spokespeople and endorsements that goes into it, because You’re right. Yeah. There’s deals to be had. It is not an efficient marketplace, let me put it that way.
Terrell Jones: Yeah, you’re right. I’ll give you another story about golf because, so I represented a golfer back in the day. His name is Steve Elkington a company approached us and it was an energy ring company. They approached us about doing something with Elk, and Elk was like, yeah, I would be interested, but they decided that they wanted to go another route because another player had just won the US open. So I’m on the phone with the VP of this energy drink company, and they’re like, yeah we’re gonna spend 5 million on this player, I said, did you do your background check on this person? They’re like, he’s a clean cut guy. But I said, he’s very religious, he doesn’t drink caffeine, and you’re laced with caffeine. They’re like, yeah. I said, so you’re gonna throw 5 million at a at a person who doesn’t [00:26:00] drink caffeine? And he’s like, oh, well, his agent didn’t tell us that.
I’m like, of course, because that’s his job, dude, to get as much money for his client as possible. And I, and I don’t think they end up signing this golfer, but I was like, you have to do your homework or you’re gonna waste your money.
AJ Maestas: Yeah. Yeah. That’s pretty bad. That’s a pretty bad one. But yeah, I don’t disagree. I, I’m sure you’ve got some awesome stories that, uh, we don’t get to do in a public setting as far as your time representing athletes, but it. It’s pretty incredible. In my mind, I’m thinking of like how much someone could want some stuff stir free when they’re making such great money. It just blows my mind. Some of the asks these agents have to deal with, so they’re probably just burned out, right? This isn’t their core business. They sign you for a playing contract, and that money comes in over time pretty reliably. Endorsement deals are tough work. Right? A lot of work.
Terrell Jones: But you know, the thing is though, is that you have to realize too, is that when you negotiate a contract that wants you to negotiate that contract, unless it’s a one year deal, then you really don’t have to do any work for that contract. Because if it’s a multi-year contract, but now the endorsement deals, that’s [00:27:00] where you have to do your work. And again.
AJ Maestas: Exactly.
Terrell Jones: Yeah. And again, I just think that, but I’m not saying all agents are bad, but you have some agents out there who will just say, oh, this company’s gonna throw a few million dollars at you. You should endorse this product. . If it’s not part of your lifestyle or it doesn’t align with your beliefs, then why do it? And I find that you get more out of an athlete if they believe in the product, they use the product if they love the product. Because again, that energy that they give you when they’re shooting a commercial or radio spot, whatever it is, or they’re doing a personal appearance, you’re gonna feel it.
but sometimes when I’ve been at some of these personal events, and you could just tell the athletes there just for the money and the energy’s not there, and you’re just like, okay, I’m not really feeling this right now. So does that make you really wanna buy the product if the energy from the athletes there? Probably not.
AJ Maestas: Yeah. I would hope and wish that they would all be authentic. There’s no question about that. Well, hey, just so we can get to know you a little better. Yeah. So the folks listening can get to know you a little better. Do you mind me asking some just quick fire questions here,
Terrell Jones: Please do.
AJ Maestas: Okay, cool.
[00:28:00] Favorite place to travel.
Terrell Jones: Okay. And Greece. So I spent a year in Greece when I was in the service.
AJ Maestas: Oh, nice. Wow. How’d you pull that off?
Terrell Jones: I was supposed to go to Portugal, but they read my, they redlined my orders and sent me to Greece instead. I’m like, okay, that’s fine. And, and I actually, I tried to
AJ Maestas: I know, this sounds very difficult. Portugal, Greece.
Terrell Jones: Yeah. I tried to get an extension while I was in Greece, but it just didn’t happen. But I, yeah, I absolutely love Greece because Greece for me was the culture, the food. And I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you a quick story. Yeah. As you can see, I like, I love telling stories. So I had these two roommates and one of my roommates likes to adventure out.
AJ Maestas: Yeah.
Terrell Jones: He goes, oh man. He goes, I found this great restaurant. So we go to this restaurant, it’s sitting right there on the Ionian sea. And I asked him, I said, so what’s the catch of the day? And they’re like, oh, we’re not sure, but we think it’s this. I’m like, okay, great. So the waiter comes back, he’s got his goggles on, he’s wet, and he’s spearfished this fish and he says, is this fresh enough for you?
I said, absolutely. Greek people were [00:29:00] so welcoming to us and opened up their arms, but I was able to travel to Spain and England and Germany just from being in Greece. And yeah, so Greece is my favorite spot.
AJ Maestas: It, it’s a pretty amazing place and I have a not so different story from a Italian harbor one time and it was just such a reminder of how we eat and live in the US versus how the rest of the world does. But, uh, very cool place. Very cool place.
Terrell Jones: Love it.
AJ Maestas: I’m going to Albania by the way, in a couple months. I’m really excited about that. Get to see a raw version, right. Of the, uh.
Terrell Jones: You have to tell me how that is. Hopefully my next trip will be to Italy. I have a cousin who lives in Italy. Funny thing about my cousin. My cousin was Whitney Houston’s musical director for 25 years.
AJ Maestas: Okay, that’s awesome.
Terrell Jones: But yes, so he lives in Italy with his wife and his daughter, and he’s been on me like, you need to come visit. So now that we’re opened up a little bit more, I can go see him.
AJ Maestas: Wise choice. I’m assuming he’s retired and living the good life.
Terrell Jones: He, he’s, he’s enjoying life over there, so yes, he picked the right talent to team up with.
AJ Maestas: How about a book recommendation? What would you tell me or anyone listening to read?
Terrell Jones: I always tell people. [00:30:00] Is Read The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw, Greatest Generation. Oh, okay. Thank you. Okay, making a note.
The Greatest Generation is about the generation of World War ii, and how people left their families and their farms to go fight World War ii, where the wives and the kids stayed behind and they had to keep the farm going. Keep whether they’re volunteering for whatever it was, but just the hard times that they went through. And I will tell you this, I’ve read that book several times. During Memorial Day I’ll try to quote something out of that book, but let’s say that my computer goes down or my toaster breaks, and I get a little frustrated and then I remember the greatest generation. I was like, you know what, your life is not that bad, so what are you complaining about?
AJ Maestas: Yeah, I love that. That’s good. There’s a quote, I have a coworker who’s always sharing, which is hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times, create weak men, and weak men create hard times. That cycle of you -I don’t even know who it’s originally attributed to, but uh, yeah. I don’t know how we’re holding up in the eyes of the greatest generation right now.
Terrell Jones: Probably not too well. Exactly. [00:31:00]
AJ Maestas: No, I’ll read that. Thank you.
Terrell Jones: My pleasure.
AJ Maestas: I love ones that I’ve never heard before or it hasn’t been recommended to me before that. Okay. What other career would you choose if you weren’t in sports? What would you be doing?
Terrell Jones: Ooh, that’s a tough one. I’d probably pick something in the entertainment world because I like stories and I like to tell stories. Something along those lines, whether it’s a commentator or where I get to interview people. Probably along those lines. Yeah, because I’m not a, uh, it’s funny because both my brothers are in the computer world. They’re both, ITs and I have no clue of what they do some days.
AJ Maestas: Yeah, I, that doesn’t sound fun to me either.
I think you’d be a pretty good interviewer with your own stories the boot. Last question before we wrap up here. What are you most proud of in your career?
Terrell Jones: I would say I got to. And I got to train a lot of great athletes and help them to become possibly the best that they could possibly be on the field, whether it is in the NFL or what or if I was coaching. So I was able to coach women’s softball at a community [00:32:00] college as well, but not only to help them achieve their goals on the field, but off the field as well, especially like with Women’s softball. A lot of these young women, they had a plan in mind where they wanted to do with their lives, but they didn’t know how to go about it.
And I’ve got a great network. Again, like I said, I’ve got a PhD in networking. , I would just call my friends and say, Hey, I’ve got this person. They’re looking for internship. Let me, let me introduce you, this and this. So yeah, I would say that by helping, helping them on the field and off the field as well.
Again, I was there when Garrison Hurst got hurt and helped him get back. Jerry in ’97 when he tore his ACL I was part of that team as well, and Steve Young. So again, just a lot of great athletes that people have heard ’em that or people have not heard that I helped get back on the field.
AJ Maestas: I love that. It’s such a beautiful answer. I’ve heard it echoed in so many different but similar ways, where it’s about someone’s contribution to others, to the world, to other people. So I really like that. I appreciate that.
Terrell Jones: My pleasure.
AJ Maestas: What a beautiful way to wrap things up.
Terrell Jones: If you don’t have the heart to give, then why are you on this planet? That’s the way I look at it, because we all need help. And again, I [00:33:00] always said this with my family, that once I get into the NFL, if there’s ways that I can help people, whether it’s through foundations or donations, I have the resources, I will do that.
AJ Maestas: Good. I’m glad to hear that. I’m of the same mindset. I can assure you. I agree. Couldn’t agree more.
For everyone listening to us here today, if you have any comments or questions for Terrell, just write me at email@example.com. You can also connect with us on our Navigate or my personal LinkedIn page, but again, this is AJ Maestes with Navigating Sports Business, joined by Terrell Jones, thank you for joining us.
Terrell Jones: Thanks for having me. Is my pleasure. And I will tell all your listeners this, keep listening and if you can, Bring one person on to listen to the Navigate podcast. Please do, because it’s, I’m telling. I’ve got so much information from you and your crew and I want to thank you for the way that you tell the stories and bringing people in and some people that people never heard of and tell their stories and the business of sports as well. So thank you.
AJ Maestas: I’m so flattered. We’re [00:34:00] gonna turn that into a promo clip, so , look what you just did there. I do appreciate it though, and I’m really grateful for your time. It’s so nice to be able to share you with the rest of the world. So thank you.
Terrell Jones: Thank you so much, and the best of you and your family and the rest of the crew.