|Steve Mitchell/Associated Press|
|After some trying times, agent Leigh Steinberg is getting back into the business of representing players.|
Leigh Steinberg is back in the agent game.
Steinberg was one of the most powerful sports agents around and was the inspiration for the lead character in "Jerry Maguire." But personal issues, including alcoholism and bankruptcy, derailed Steinberg, who let his NFL certification lapse in 2007; he wasn't recertified as an agent by the NFL Players Association until last October.
Steinberg, 64, has one client in this draft, SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert. Steinberg also represented Gilbert's dad, Gale Gilbert, and represents SMU coach June Jones.
"It's the first signing of the new era," Steinberg told The Associated Press. "It's totally exciting to be back in the saddle again. I love it, and next year we'll do a full draft."
Gilbert is working out in California to get ready for his pre-draft evaluations.
"June says that if you take the film from game six in his junior year to this year, he's played as well as any quarterback in the country," Steinberg said of Gilbert to the AP. "[Jones] thinks that he has the makings of a franchise-type quarterback. At this point, he's not currently rated in that group."
Steinberg was the agent for numerous NFL stars, including Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Drew Bledsoe and Howie Long. His first client was Steve Bartkowski, who knew Steinberg as his freshman dorm counselor at California. Steinberg has represented the No. 1 pick in the draft a record eight times.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.