Steinberg returns home

Leigh Steinberg smiled as he looked at the people who showed up for his book signing event at the Fashion Island Barnes & Noble Thursday night.

"I'm happy to be back home, finally," Steinberg said.

He explained that he has been promoting his new book, "The Agent: My 40-year career making deals and changing the game," and working to relaunch his work as an agent for athletes.

Last week, he was in New York for the Super Bowl, where he held a party that also provided awareness and support for various charities.

At the bookstore, Steinberg noticed familiar faces and made sure to acknowledge each of them. He spoke about his book and his life. He took questions and signed copies of his book. He sat for nearly two hours signing since there were so many people lined up.

They all wanted to hear about the man who was a game-changer in the industry, who fell apart and who built himself back up again.

That's what his book is about.

Steinberg, who represented 60 first-round picks in the NFL Draft, including eight No. 1 selections, touched on the highlights of his life, and the not-so-great moments.

He was a student body president at UC Berkeley, where he studied law. It was there he met and came to represent quarterback Steve Bartkowski.

Steinberg went on to become known as a superagent and served as the primary inspiration for the title character in the movie "Jerry Maguire."

While Steinberg garnered great success, he said he kept in mind two outstanding values his father taught him.

He was told to treasure relationships. And, to make a difference in the world.

The book also reveals Steinberg's bout with alcoholism. He said he came to the realization that he needed help because he was needing a drink to get out of bed. But through a sobriety group and daily work, Steinberg has stopped drinking.

"Part of the reason I wrote the book was to let others know there is hope," Steinberg said.

Steinberg's sobriety eventually led him to relaunch his career.

Steinberg's memoir also features candid stories about his career, including missing out on Peyton Manning.

Steinberg, who also writes a column for the Daily Pilot, said the book allowed him to finally look back on his life and take pride in his accomplishments. He said he never really did that during his career because he was always looking to the next project or contract.

Steinberg, who wrote his book with Michael Arkush, founded his sports law practice in 1975. He has represented more than 150 professional athletes. And there is more to come.

He is now president and CEO of Steinberg Sports and Entertainment.

On Thursday, he showed that he has a down-to-earth personality. He posed for photos with children. He also signed a special banner for a fan, Tom Bateman, who wants the Rams to return to Los Angeles.

Bateman of Anaheim also made sure to buy two books and have them both signed because he said he appreciated Steinberg's work for the Save the Rams campaign in 1994.

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