Culliver mentioned in sports agent investigation

Raleigh News and ObserverMarch 11, 2013 

SEPTEMBER 2010: Ace Sanders (9) and Chris Culliver (17) celebrate the Gamecocks' win over Georgia at Williams-Brice Stadium.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

RALEIGH -- Chris Culliver, a San Francisco 49er who played football at the University of South Carolina, has been mentioned in an investigation of Terry Shawn Watson, a sports agent based in Atlanta.

In a text message, Watson told Chris Culliver, "give me an account number and bank name so I can get u tomorrow." Watson later advised Culliver to delete the messages, according to reports on the web site of Raleigh radio station WRAL.

Marvin Austin, the former North Carolina football player whose tweets launched an NCAA probe that resulted in sanctions, told special agents that he received several thousand dollars in cash from Watson while he was a student, according to warrants unsealed in Wake County Superior Court on Monday.

The money was sent to the player’s Chapel Hill home in a FedEx package with a bogus name on it, according to the warrants.

Those comments led investigators with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office to look into the actions of Watson. Watson lists as one of his clients Cortland Finnegan, an NFL player who signed a five-year, $50 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.

A.H. Jones, a special agent with the Secretary of State, said in an Oct. 23 search warrant application that Austin told him: "Terry Watson was a guy who gave me money."

Austin said during an interview on Sept. 17, 2010, that Watson had given him $2,000 in cash on one occasion, according to Jones.

Austin told investigators that Willie Barley of Miami facilitated the payment. The cash was sent in a FedEx package delivered to the Chapel Hill home where Austin lived during his college years.

When asked whether a money order or check arrived, Jones contends that Austin said: "No, it was green backs," "cash."

The package, according to investigators, arrived on May 4, 2010, the same month that Austin and other UNC players popped up at a pool party attended by NFL players in Miami.

Agents, financial advisers and other businessmen were swarming around Austin, a defensive star at UNC who was seen as a first-round draft pick.

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