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Former super agent Leigh Steinberg likes new representation of self

Leigh Steinberg, once known for his good looks and elite sports clientele, hit bottom with alcohol. Now sober, he's starting over.

December 02, 2013|By Diane Pucin

Leigh Steinberg was once known for his boyish good looks and an elite clientele that included Troy Aikman, Warren Moon and a multitude of other famous names.

Until it all fell apart.

Sipping from a bottle of water, he talks about it in the third person.

"Here's the thing about drunks," Steinberg says.

"They're good at it.

"Here's the thing about really smart drunks.

"They're very good at it."

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Now Steinberg is starting over. No clients yet. He has a handful of employees, though. And the new Steinberg Sports and Entertainment has been recertified by the NFLPA.

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Steinberg, 64, was once the super agent of all super agents, representing clients such as Aikman, Moon, Steve Bartkowski and 150 other professional baseball, basketball, boxing and Olympic athletes.

He's the father of two sons and a daughter, Katie, who is a freshman at Michigan State. He's also trying to restart his agent business. He got a California license in October.

The new company is being financed by Houston businessmen because in the dark days Steinberg had to declare bankruptcy. He said he would like to represent NBA and Major League Baseball players, launch entertainment projects and most of all find an answer to the concussion problem plaguing the NFL and other sports.

He would like a few clients signed when the NFL holds its draft in April.

That never used to be a problem. At one point Steinberg, a graduate of UCLA and of UC Berkeley's law school, represented $2 billion worth of Hall of Fame clients and a record eight No. 1 NFL picks.

"Life was pretty good," Steinberg said. "I was getting good guys, I was making sure they put money toward a charity of their choice but that their families were taken care of too."

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Katie Steinberg says she was never sure when her father had turned to vodka. He preferred vodka because it's clear like water and doesn't smell like alcohol on the breath. Put it in an Evian bottle, take a swig and you're just a California health nut, Steinberg said.

Katie, 18, the youngest of the three children (there are also John, 27, and Matt, 22, who is attending USC's film school), says her father was around more than people think. "He tried hard to be the best dad he can be, he was a fun dad. He took us to Disneyland. We'd always go to the movies."

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