Sports agent Leigh Steinberg filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, claiming responsibility for debts of several million dollars.
"I just lost track while I was in rehab," Steinberg told The Associated Press. The agent said he struggled with alcohol for years but has been sober since 2010.
His attorneys filed the Chapter 7 petition late Wednesday in federal bankruptcy court in Santa Ana, Calif.
The filing comes weeks after an Orange County Superior Court commissioner authorized but didn't issue a bench warrant for Steinberg after he failed to appear in court in a case involving a $1.4 million debt. Steinberg said his attorney agreed to change the date of a hearing and then failed to reschedule.
Steinberg has represented NFL stars such as Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Steve Young and Ben Roethlisberger. He was the inspiration for Tom Cruise's character in 1996's "Jerry Maguire." The movie turned "Show me the money!" into an enduring catchphrase, although Steinberg isn't known to use that phrase.
Steinberg issued a statement shortly after the filing.
He said he delayed filing for bankruptcy for several years "because of my moral and legal obligation to people who advanced me funds or performed services in good faith. But the constant and aggressive collection efforts and press initiatives undertaken by creditors have harassed my family and prevented me from working to be able to pay these debts."
He said prospective clients have been pushed away after hearing of his debts.
"It doesn't seem logical to prevent a person who owes you money from working in their chosen field by attempting to ruin his reputation, but that is what has happened," he said. "I have lived with this in recent years, and it is time to follow a more constructive path."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press