In 2006 at the Super Bowl in Detroit, NFL agent Leigh Steinberg threw a giant, swank party the day before the game. Open bar. Open food. It had video games. Pool tables. Girls. A lot of bars. There was a station where girls would shave a guy's face with a new razor that had yet to hit the market. There was a custom boot fitting station.
Jerry Jones stopped by. So did former Warren Moon, who earlier that day had been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Moon had been represented by Steinberg during his career. Steinberg worked the room as if he owned the joint, which at the time he did. What none of us in attendance at the time realized was that Steinberg was going down.
The next time I saw him was at the 2008 NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Myself and another reporter chatted with him for a few minutes, and Steinberg spoke of the clients he used to have in his stable. Then he was gone. The other reporter and I commented how thin Steinberg looked, and wondered how he his business was doing. We couldn't name any clients that were under his watch.
And this was a guy who once was the NFL's premier and most powerful agent. He was the agent that the movie Jerry Maguire was loosely based on.
What happened to Steinberg? Alcohol, with some serious hubris.
Tonight on HBO Real Sports in a piece that can be loosely described as "depressing as hell", the show interviews the former super agent, who speaks candidly about his rise and fall. Leigh is an alcoholic.
"I’m sitting in my parent’s house at 61 years of age. And I've lost my office. I have no home," Steinberg says on the show. "I've gone through unspendable amounts of money and I've thought, 'This is what I was put on this planet to do? To end up drinking on my mother’s bed. Alienating all of the people who believed in me?"
He also said: "All I wanted was more alcohol. It became synonymous with breath itself. (I drink) Vodka. I got to the point where I bought the 1750 ml. I carried that around and drank from it."
Steinberg is currently in a 12-step program, he has declared bankruptcy, shares a condo with a roomate and teaches at Cal-Irvine.
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