PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – He’s the real life Jerry Maguire. He was the agent of sports superstars. He has represented Hall of Famer’s Steve Young and Warren Moon and has also represented many Steeler quarterbacks, including Ben Roethlisberger. He had everything and then he lost it all through alcoholism, bankruptcy, and divorce.
Leigh Steinberg joined Larry Richert and John Shumway to talk about his new book, “The Agent,” in which he tells his story of victory, personal defeats, and how he is coming back.
Steinberg jokingly says he was, “the designated agent for Steeler quarterbacks from Neil O’Donnell to Kordell Stewart and ultimately through Ben.”
He says he respects the Rooney family and says Pittsburgh, “might be the greatest football town in the country.”
He recalls in Roethlisberger’s rookie season when they sold more Big Ben shirts then there people in the area.
“Every person could have had one and a half t-shirts,” says Steinberg.
He says an important part of his philosophy was molding his athletes into role models that could go back to their community to make a difference. He wanted the athletes he represented to be “imitated” by those looking up to him. He claims this helped him run a successful company.
Then in what he calls, “a series of personal reverses.” Steinberg lost his father to cancer, his two sons were diagnosed with an incurable eye disease, and he got divorced.
He says he “chose an unfortunate way to sort of check out and escape,” and that choice was alcohol.
To keep his practice going he let his younger agents handle the clients he had when he was drinking heavily.
“I had an obligation to [his] players to make sure they were well served,” he says.
In 2010, he hit rock bottom and decided to get sober. That was four years ago and now he says he’s “coming back.”
Steinberg says he got back into the game because he wants athletes to be able to have something to do after they retire. He also says there are, “major issues like concussions that need addressed,” and he just loves sports.
Steinberg also talked about Roethlisberger and says that he is “mature” and a “wonderful person.”
“[Ben’s] got many good years [left],” he says.