Agent Norby Walters spread $2,500 in cash...

Agent Norby Walters spread $2,500 in cash on a desk in front of Ronnie Harmon to persuade him to sign a contract that violated National Collegiate Athletic Assn. rules, the former Iowa running back told a federal jury.

Harmon, now with the Buffalo Bills, was the first witness in the Chicago fraud trial of New York-based agents Walters and Lloyd Bloom.

Walters spread out the money on the desk of his New York office in front of Harmon, then a junior at Iowa, Harmon testified.

“We’re talking about business. The product is Ronnie Harmon,” Walters said in a conversation Harmon tape-recorded March 10, 1985.


During the 15 months he dealt with Bloom and Walters, Harmon said, he received a new Mercedes, plane tickets and other items worth about $54,000. He said he fired the agents a few days after Bloom had negotiated a $1.3-million contract for Harmon with the Bills.

Under cross-examination, Harmon said he paid Bloom and Walters a total of $5,000. But he fired them before they could collect a commission on his National Football League contract.