Sports agent Leigh Steinberg discussed everything from his passions to entering the sports agency field during a book signing at the TCU bookstore Friday night.
Steinberg was promoting his new autobiography “The Agent: My 40-Year Career Making Deals and Changing the Game.”
“If you want to be successful in any area of sports, a work ethic has to accompany that that’s off the charts,” Steinberg said. “The field is hypercompetitive.”
One of Steinberg’s initiatives is also the issue of player concussions.
Steinberg’s company, Steinberg Sports and Entertainment, is involved with “all segments of concussion advocacy, diagnosis, prevention and treatment,” according to the company website.
“We work with various organizations and companies at the cutting edge of concussion research to facilitate opportunities and strategic partnerships in an effort to expand the awareness of concussion advocacy,” according to the website.
Steinberg said that during the 1980s, he asked medical professions about the long-term consequences of concussions, but they had “no answers.”
“I held three concussion conferences in the 1990s to make sure that players like Troy Aikman, Steve Young and Warren Moon at least heard what the facts were,” he said.
Steinberg said he held another conference in 2007 when doctors had more concussion-based research.
The sports agent said that research found that three or more hits to the head creates higher rates of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, depression and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Steinberg said that concussion rates will only get worse as athletes get bigger, stronger and faster.
He created the foundation Athlete’s Speak to bring attention to the issue and fund research. Earl Campbell and Warren Moon, two Hall of Fame NFL players, were the foundation’s first two Board of Directors, according to Steinberg.
Local resident Ross Hatchett attended the book signing on behalf of his son.
“My wife and I, Lynn, came to see Leigh Steinberg this afternoon because our son who goes to Tech and could not make it wanted some questions answered about how Leigh started in the business,” said Hatchett.
“Our son’s very interested in being a sports agent and Mr. Steinberg was nice enough to take a few minutes with us and explain to us what he did to get where he is,” he said.
Paschal High School student Madalene Culver purchased an autobiography for her father.
Culver said, “My dad’s a big fan and his birthday’s coming up, so I thought, ‘Why not come by while I’m doing my homework and say hello and get a book signed?’”
Steinberg is also known as the inspiration for the film “Jerry Maguire,” in which actor Tom Cruise portrays a sports agent.
“A lot of phrases from that film became a part of popular culture,” said Steinberg. “There’s an intense interest in the field of sports representation. I’m probably to blame for some of it.”