Ex-super agent and the real life ‘Jerry Maguire’, Leigh Steinberg, was recently profiled by ESPN’s ‘Outside The Lines’ along with SMU quarterback, Garret Gilbert.
Gilbert was Steinberg’s only client leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft in New York City. The St. Louis Rams selected the Buffalo, New York native in the sixth round, 214th overall.
The seven-minute video — which you can watch here — discussed Steinberg’s well-documented past, his troubles with the law and alcoholic abuse, and his current representation of Gilbert.
Between 1975 and 2000, Steinberg represented 63 first-round selections, with 18 of them being quarterbacks. Throughout his career, he has represented a record eight No. 1 overall draft selections.
“He was king of the hill,” ex Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Troy Aikman, said. “If you were a quarterback at that time coming out of college and you felt that you were going to go high in the draft, then you hired one of two guys. It was either Marvin Demoff or it was Leigh Steinberg.”
Added former NFL and CFL quarterback, Warren Moon: “In the football business, nobody was bigger than Leigh. Nobody.”
However, things started to unravel in the early 2000s for Steinberg. In 2001, a former partner of his, David Dunn (currently a Partner at Athletes First), left the sports agency Steinberg had developed with Dunn and fellow agent, Jeff Moorad. When Dunn left the agency, he took a majority of the clients with him.
When asked how he felt following the messy break-up, Steinberg responded with, “Obviously, betrayed.” The video displays Steinberg’s obvious frustration and anger toward the situation despite it having occurred almost 15 years ago.
In 2004, Steinberg also lost his father to cancer and four years later, divorced his wife of 23 years.
“I felt powerless, separated from my kids, living in an apartment for the first time,” Steinberg said of the unfortunate circumstances. “I wanted to check out, not from life, but just from that stretch. I chose the wrong thing. I chose alcohol.”
He was arrested for public intoxication in 2008 following two prior arrests for drunk driving. In March 2010, Steinberg finally took his last drink and checked into a treatment facility.
“There’s a lot of bad things that have happened to Leigh Steinberg, but the thing is, he has good heart,” said June Jones, head football coach of SMU.
Steinberg actually represented Jones in the late 1970s when he was an undrafted quarterback, negotiating his first few contracts for free. Fast forward to the present and Steinberg is still repairing his image, so to speak, as the CEO of Steinberg Sports and Entertainment. He’ll rely heavily on Gilbert to help re-launch his career after battling back from his troubled past.
“I’m his only client. He was really the only one who came knocking on my door. So, both of us are in the position where we’re very important to one another,” Gilbert said.
ESPN’ John Barr ended the video by asking Steinberg, “What is success for you today at age 65?”
Steinberg responded with, “Being sober and being a good parent and all the rest of it is a blessing.”