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Sunday, March 3, 2024

‘He’s Relentless’: Sean Stellato Is the Agent for the Underdogs

  • Tommy DeVito’s fedora-wearing rep goes viral during “Monday Night Football.”
  • “He’s going to do everything in his power to make you aware of his client,” says NFL Network’s Peter Schrager.
Sean Stellato
ESPN

Quarterback Tommy DeVito’s agent, Sean Stellato, broke the internet as his client led the New York Giants to victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Sports fans have been enjoying the improbable rise of “Tommy Cutlets,” the local boy from New Jersey who still lives with his parents. And that story grew during “Monday Night Football” as viewers got their first look at Stellato chatting with DeVito on the field before the game.

Decked out in a black pinstripe suit and sporting a Frank Sinatra-like fedora, Stellato, 45, looked like he’d just stepped out of a revival of “Guys and Dolls.” Darren Rovell reported his hat was custom-made by Bellissimo Hats in Brooklyn.

The clip of Stellato on his cell phone instantly went viral, with viewers likening the agent to a character from “The Sopranos.” Others described him as an Italian “Jerry Maguire.” Peyton Manning compared him to Johnny Fontane from “The Godfather.”

When ESPN cameras cut to Stellato hugging and kissing DeVito’s family, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were all for it. The scene-stealing Stellato even used the Italian hand gesture made famous by his client.

“This guy, the agent, may break the internet,” said Buck.

“What the heck is going on?” asked Aikman.

“They have kisses everywhere,” added Buck.

Peter Schrager of NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” has known Stellato for over a decade. He described him as the quintessential striver, representing underdog players at the end of the NFL Draft. Or players who might not get drafted at all, like DeVito, who became the Giants’ third starting quarterback this season.

“I love Sean. He’s such a hustler. He’s one of those dudes who will work harder than anybody to make sure that you know his client’s name. His client is not going to be the starting quarterback from the national championship-winning team. Or the Heisman Trophy winner. His client is going to be the undersized corner. Or the quarterback who’s going to go undrafted. He’s going to do everything in his power to make you aware of his client.”

Around NFL events like the Draft and Combine, Stellato is always “dressed to the nines,” according to Schrager, who said the agent owns 30 custom-made suits and a cedar closet for his wardrobe.

Like DeVito, the Sinatra-quoting Stellato is a proud Italian-American, said Schrager, who booked the agent for his podcast, “The Season with Peter Schrager,” on Tuesday.

The father of four daughters is about to be inducted into the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago on Dec. 15, joining the likes of Joe Montana, Dan Marino and Joe DiMaggio.

Stellato called DeVito the “Passing Paisano” in an interview with the New York Post. With their shared heritage, the duo are a “perfect match,” Schrager said.

“You look at the case study of DeVito. And you say, ‘Would any other agent devote the time, the energy to Tommy DeVito that Sean was doing before DeVito went into the game? I was getting pitches from Sean about stuff he was doing with Tommy DeVito when Tommy DeVito was the third-string,” he said.

“It’s a certain player and a certain personality. You have to be OK with someone who’s constantly hustling, constantly working on your behalf, constantly trying. Because that’s what he is. He’s relentless. I think last night he probably slept three hours. I was on ‘GMF’ at 7 a.m. — and he was already texting me up a storm about things he’s got in the works for Tommy. He’s that dude.”

The Massachusetts native played for several seasons in the Arena Football League before creating his sports agency, located in a suburb of Boston. SES Sports cites a client list on its website that includes DeVito, former running backs Alfred Morris and Shaun Draughn, ex-punter Ryan Allen, former defensive ends Bryan Braman and Ryan Delaire, and XFL cornerback Tye Smith, who has played for three NFL teams. Stellato has “negotiated contracts with every NFL team,” according to his site. He’s also an author and motivational speaker.

“Sean is always in my corner and will do whatever it takes to help me with my career on and off the field,” DeVito told the Salem News. “He is the Italian Stallion of sports agents.”

Also on Tuesday, Stellato appeared with Kay Adams on her “Up and Adams” YouTube show for FanDuel. 

Like the term “fuggedaboutit” in “Donnie Brasco,” Stellato said DeVito’s signature Italian hand gesture can be interpreted in multiple ways. 

“I’m sure Sebastian [Maniscalco] can probably do it better than anybody,” he told Adams. “But Tommy’s embraced it. He’s done a great job. It’s great to see his linemen getting involved with it.”

Stellato’s “dream” is to score a long-term contract with the Giants for the undrafted rookie, who grew up practically in the shadow of MetLife Stadium. And for his client to keep the starting job.

“I have no doubt he can win this job. He’s won the locker room. The coaches believe him. The fans think he’s the second coming of ‘The Sopranos’ twenty-something years ago,” he told Adams. “Just in terms of that aura and that passion and that blue-collar, underdog approach, he relates to that fan base. So I think he can win that job. I have no doubt about it.”

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