01.21.14

Leigh Steinberg’s Big Bombshell : Full Complicity In Fucking Up Ryan Leaf’s Career, Life

Posted in Gridiron at 9:14 pm by

That Leigh Steinberg was at various times right smack in the middle of deals that altered the shape of the NFL is not the biggest stretch in the world ; after all, Steinberg — allegedly the inspiration for Cameron Crowe’s “Jerry Maguire” —- was once synonymous with uber-agent the way Scott Boras or Drew Rosenhaus came to be in later years.  But prior to the publication of Steinberg’s tell-all, “The Agent”, it’s never been suggested that he personally encouraged bust-of-the-century Ryan Leaf (above)to torpedo his own draft stock with the team sitting on the #1 pick. The following excerpts are culled from USA Today :

I told Ryan it would do no good to approach Colts GM Jim Irsay. Irsay saw the sport the same way he viewed his other passion, rock ’n’ roll. Just as musicians tended to be a bit eccentric, so did football players, and that did not stop him from drafting Jeff George or trading for Eric Dickerson. “Leigh,” he used to say, “it’s about the freaking talent.” If someone is that gifted, in Irsay’s opinion, you simply find a way to deal with his personality.

“If you go to the combine,” I told Ryan, “but fail to show up for a meeting with (Indianapolis head coach Jim) Mora, that should do it. Jim is a real prideful person who has a tendency to explode. I am not recommending you do this, but if you are desperate to go to San Diego, this is the way.”

Ryan approved, but I first cleared the idea with Chargers general manager Bobby Beathard, lest San Diego also question my client’s reliability. Beathard went along with the ruse. If he’d had a problem, Ryan would’ve shown up for his meeting with Mora.

Once Ryan was a no-show, Mora, as anticipated, went ballistic. I defended my player, naturally, dismissing the coach’s response as another Mora meltdown. As I’d anticipated, Ryan was criticized, but the plan achieved its purpose. The Colts took Peyton Manning. Something tells me the folks in Indianapolis have never regretted that decision.

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