The Agent: My 40-Year Career Making Deals and Changing the Game
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A New York Times bestseller!
The real-life "Jerry Maguire," superagent Leigh Steinberg shares his personal stories on the rise, fall, and redemption of his game-changing career in the high-stakes world of professional sports
Leigh Steinberg is renowned as one of the greatest sports agents in history, representing such All-Pro clients as Troy Aikman, Bruce Smith, and Ben Roethlisberger. Over one particular seven-year stretch, Steinberg represented the top NFL Draft pick an unheard of six times. Director Cameron Crowe credits Steinberg as a primary inspiration for the titular character in Jerry Maguire, even hiring Steinberg as a consultant on the film. Lightyears ahead of his contemporaries, he expanded his players' reach into entertainment. Already the bestselling author of a business book on negotiation, the original superagent is now taking readers behind the closed doors of professional sports, recounting priceless stories, like how he negotiated a $26.5 million package for Steve Young―the biggest ever at the time―and how he passed on the chance to represent Peyton Manning.
Beginning with his early days as a student leader at Berkeley, Steinberg details his illustrious rise into pro sports fame, his decades of industry dominance, and how he overcame a series of high-profile struggles to regain his sobriety and launch his comeback. This riveting story takes readers inside the inner circle of top-notch agents and players through the visionary career of Leigh Steinberg, the pre-eminent superagent of our time.
and offered his condo to use as a base while I headed into the Deep South to meet Joel “Cowboy” Parrish, a guard from the University of Georgia. I’ve always carried a special fondness for offensive lineman. They receive too little credit when the play goes right and too much blame when the play goes wrong, so they bond with each other like no other players. Never pampered in high school or college, as their teammates in the skill positions are, they learn to be satisfied without needing constant
cousins. Warrick took on many of the duties of a parent after his mother, a police officer, was shot and killed during a robbery while he was in his teens. Watching Warrick interact with his family and friends told me more about his character than any words could ever reveal. He was later the NFL’s Man of the Year based on a program we set up, Homes for the Holidays, in which Warrick made the down payment for single mothers on the first home they’d ever own. He was a special individual. People
draft, there wasn’t much for me or my players to do except wait. At the party, there was too much to do. The hardest part was keeping track of hundreds of names and remembering the business I’d conducted with each of them in the past, and how we might work together again in the future. As host, I also made the introductions; the challenge was not to slight anyone and to connect those with mutual interests. With a line of people constantly waiting to talk and take a picture with me, there wasn’t a
would certainly have differences on a player’s compensation, but they paled in comparison to the common interest of building the revenue and popularity of the game. The fact that I represented the starting quarterbacks or key players on many teams gave me better entrée. I began to sit with the owners during the games, and they became close friends. The key to expanding the NFL was the television contract. Owners such as Art Modell thought the $17 million per team per season they were receiving
the Cardinals selected Pittsburgh wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. I advised Ben and his family not to get too excited, as I was sure the Giants would trade up to get Manning. The team’s GM, Ernie Acorsi, had told me that he considered Manning a once-in-a-lifetime player. I also knew the Chargers coaches had fallen in love with Philip Rivers when they worked with him at the Senior Bowl. Ben still kept his hopes up of going to New York. Nothing I said could change that. On draft day, Ben, his