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Terrell Suggs (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

T-Swindled? Suggs sues late agent’s wife for breach of contract

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs has filed suit against the wife of his late agent, alleging that she continued accepting payments Suggs made to her husband’s estate after his death but quietly closed the sports management agency he had owned without telling Suggs and his other clients.

Without a contract advisor, Suggs claims he was unable to capitalize on his performance in 2011 — when was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year — and obtain lucrative endorsements or marketing deals, according to the lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Suggs also could not renegotiate his contract with the Ravens to reflect his contributions to the team and had no help coordinating his rehabilitation from a 2012 surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon, according to the lawsuit. (Suggs tore his left Achilles tendon in September and is out for the rest of this season.)

Suggs seeks unspecified damages from Maire Wichard, the wife of the late Gary Wichard, who owned sports management agency Pro Tect Management LLC. Gary Wichard’s other, notable clients include Suggs’ teammate, Elvis Dumervil, the Arizona Cardinals’ Dwight Freeney and former player Jason Taylor.

Suggs hired Wichard as his agent before the linebacker entered the NFL Draft in 2003. Under his agreement with Wichard, 3 percent of the compensation Suggs earned under his NFL contract was to be paid to Wichard, according to the lawsuit.

In 2009, Wichard negotiated for Suggs a five-year, $62.5 million contract with the Ravens, which included an option for the team to extend the contract for the 2014 season.

When Wichard died in March 2011, Suggs was under contract with the Ravens for another four seasons. Suggs continued to pay the contract advisor fees to Wichard’s estate after his death, “expecting that [Maire Wichard] would continue operating Pro Tect so that Pro Tect could continue representing Mr. Suggs,” the lawsuit states.

Maire Wichard led Suggs to believe the company would continue to employ a certified contract advisor who could satisfy the terms of his agreement with her late husband, the complaint states.

Instead, Suggs claims Maire Wichard “wound down and closed” Pro Tect’s business operations, provided no services to Suggs and did not advocate on his behalf.

As a result, Suggs did not attempt to renegotiate his contract with the Ravens after the 2011 season, “as is a normal practice in the NFL when a player achieves such a superior level of performance,” the suit states.

In November 2013, Maire Wichard demanded a fee of $192,000, or 3 percent of Suggs’ compensation for the 2013 NFL season, on behalf of her husband’s estate and indicated that she intended to attempt to collect fees for the 2014 season, too, the complaint alleges.

“After paying over one million dollars for services which for the most part were never rendered, and having had his NFL career compromised by being without a fiduciary and Contract Advisor to renegotiate his Ravens contract at opportune times, to represent him in NFL matters and generally to act in his best interests regarding crucial career events, Mr. Suggs finally refused to pay any more fees to Defendant,” the lawsuit states.

But Wichard filed a grievance with the National Football League Players Association, which upheld her claim.

Suggs is represented locally by Andrew Jay Graham of Kramon & Graham P.A. in Baltimore. No attorney is listed for Maire Wichard in court records, and she could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Terrell Suggs v. Maire Wichard, 1:15-cv-03149-JKB.


About Lauren Kirkwood

Lauren Kirkwood covers the business of law beat at The Daily Record.