Prominent sports agent Eugene Parker died Thursday after a battle with cancer.
Parker was 60 and had been diagnosed last year with kidney cancer.
Parker represented several NFL stars and introduced Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders during his 2011 induction ceremony in Canton.
Sanders wrote a tribute to Parker on his Instagram page Friday morning.
“Eugene Parker was the best human being I’ve ever met. Almost 30 years ago I met this young aspiring African American attorney/football agent trying to secure my services out of FSU. He had on a cheap polyester suit, wing tip shoes and he was articulate, efficient and confident. He didn’t offer me a dime or (try) to secure my talent with women, jewelry or payments to my mother or family members he was honest and all he needed was a chance. … He taught me manhood without doing it intentionally and he taught me about the Lord without judging me. We’ve never had a disagreement nor did I ever have to tell him what to shoot for contract wise. We had true chemistry, love, respect and admiration.”
A college basketball player at Purdue, Parker was a fifth-round NBA draft pick in 1978 but eschewed a career in pro sports to pursue his law degree.
“Condolences to the family of Eugene Parker who passed away at age 60. A man of great integrity in the sports business. I’ll miss my friend,” Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy said Friday via Twitter.
Parker represented Emmitt Smith, Walter Jones, Curtis Martin and Rod Woodson — all Hall of Famers — and active players signed with his agency include Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and 2016 draft hopefuls Laquon Treadwell (Mississippi) and Jaylon Smith (Notre Dame).