Ronnie Stanley signs first-ever NFL endorsement deal with Zappos

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Ronnie Stanley has signed a major endorsement deal with a shoe company. But unlike most professional athletes, the brand he chooses won’t matter.

That’s because Stanley’s signing with Zappos, one of the internet’s top-selling shoe and apparel retailers. ESPN’s Darren Rovell broke the news, getting this money quote from Stanley.

“Most guys do a shoe deal and they don’t have any flexibility because they are tied to who paid them,” Stanley said. “I can do whatever I want.”

The deal came from Stanley’s representatives at Roc Nation, the agency founded by Jay Z, who also represent C.J. Prosise and former ND hoops star Skylar Diggins. It’s a deal that seems like a product of the unique personality Stanley possesses, and the shared roots the potential top-10 pick has with the billion-dollar company headquartered in his hometown of Las Vegas.

From Rovell’s report:

“It was originally just about getting Ronnie in front of guys who are at the top of their game in terms of tech, which he is interested in, and to start a relationship founded on leadership, motivation and community,” Roc Nation president Michael Yormark said. “But, at the end, we talked about the traditional way athletes are marketed with their shoe and apparel deals and felt it made sense to work together to try something different.”

Jeff Espersen, general manager of merchandising for Zappos, said the deal with Stanley represents the first time they’ve had an endorser for the site.

“This is very much unknown territory for us,” Espersen said. “But as people who are deeply involved with Las Vegas, we’ve followed Ronnie’s amazing career to where he is today. He’s a good person, and like us, he wants to be very involved in the community.”

Stanley was Notre Dame’s offensive player of the year and earned consensus All-American honors. He’ll graduate this May, leaving a season of eligibility behind.