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Aug 18, 2014

LEIGH STEINBERG podcast excerpt: "Domestic violence is a terrible thing. In Ray Rice's first press conference, he was not taking a whole ton of responsibility, first. Second, he used some words of violence. I don't think NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came off well in that."

It’s official: Every 20 years, I plan to interview sports agent Leigh Steinberg. So go ahead, mark your calendars now for 2034. Our crack research team here at Mr. Media dug into the print morgue and found that it was 20 years ago that I last spoke with the man who inspired Tom Cruise’s character in the movie Jerry Maguire. That was for a three-part story in Gallery magazine titled “Sports Agents: The Art of the Deal.”

LEIGH STEINBERG podcast excerpt: "I've always thought that traditional agentry was not done correctly because all it emphasizes is a player's economic figure. Really, the job is to look at a player holistically, to get into their heart and mind, to force them to prioritize their values. And then to build a life-long plan."

Rather than quote myself on Steinberg – I think that is called journalistic incest – here is how Mike Ozanian of Forbes described the man’s career:

“At his peak in the 1990s, Leigh Steinberg was the greatest sports agent in history. Not because he had the most prestigious roster of clients in terms of star power, charisma and philanthropy, but because he was light years ahead of his peers with respect to the melding of sports into the fabric of the entertainment industry. “Not only did Steinberg consult for the movies Jerry Maguire and Any Given Sunday, but he also had his client, quarterback Drew Bledsoe, star in the former hugely successful film. Steinberg also encouraged boxing great Oscar de la Hoya to promote his own fights, which the champion eventually did and along with Richard Schaefer, turn Golden Boy Promotions into a powerhouse.”

Unfortunately, success and the pressure cooker of Hollywood can sometimes be too much for mortal men and Steinberg fell into alcohol abuse and saw the reputation he built collapse under the weight of DUI arrests and a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

LEIGH STEINBERG podcast excerpt: "You'd have to explain why the best record in baseball is held by the Oakland A's. They have the same constraints as the Tampa Bay Rays; they operate with the fourth lowest payroll. Organization--and team chemistry--counts a lot. The Yankees aren't winning the World Series every year. The Dodgers aren't winning the World Series every year. The truth is, Tampa Bay has a manager that's worth a number of players because he's so good. In general, it's ownership, it's structure, it's a concept of how to win, it's an astute look at sabermetrics, it's team chemistry that will win. A lot of the money spent by teams is on the past of star free agents, not their future. Many high payroll teams are loaded up with players past their prime. I scratched my head at the David Price trade because who's to say, with half the season to go, that Tampa Bay wouldn't come back? They've been a great second-half team. And who's to say they couldn't afford him?."

But he finally had a moment of clarity while sleeping on a bed in his mother’s house and chugging vodka nonstop that that was not what his mission in life was supposed to be. That was the day Steinberg started turning his life around. In recent years, Steinberg has reformed his original agency, Steinberg Sports and Entertainment, to represent athletes. He’s once more raising his profile and has sought to regain his once extraordinary reputation as a dealmaker and business player.

LEIGH STEINBERG podcast excerpt: "The American people, some of them luxuriate in the fall of the high and mighty, But they also love to see someone come back."

His latest deal puts the spotlight on a familiar subject: Leigh Steinberg. The legendary superagent just signed a deal to host a weekly talk show for Yahoo! Sports Radio. Starting August 18, “The Leigh Steinberg Show” will air every Monday at 8 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. PST. (If you’re in the Central time zone, you’re on your own; the math is too complicated for me.)

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