Sports agents in the NFL don’t have the best reputations. But one of my mentors, Leigh Steinberg, proved last week that nice guys don’t always finish last.
Leigh recently celebrated his six years of sobriety and he seems to have things coming back full circle. He’s back doing what he loves to do and what he does best; being a sports agent. Although Leigh may never come back to the stature which he once was, he is now representing Paxton Lynch from Memphis, a tall and talented (but raw) quarterback who’s set to be drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Good thing this time around Lynch and Steinberg are aligned in their vision!
Lynch’s father and Leigh had talked two years earlier and kept in touch, because they shared a vision. Leigh’s vision is one of creating a legacy. He wants to create a legacy not only for his athletes but for the sports agency profession as a whole and Leigh has done an exceptional job creating that legacy. The top agencies in the world have all come from the Leigh Steinberg Sports and Entertainment Agency. The #1 firm today is Rep1 Sports owned by Ryan and Bruce Tollner—former employees/partners of Leigh. They have not only represented the #2 pick and arguably the most talented quarterback prospect last year, Marcus Mariota, but they represent the top two quarterbacks entering this year’s NFL draft, projected #1 pick Jared Goff from Cal and #2 pick Carson Wentz from North Dakota State University. This marks one of the first times that sports agents have represented the top two quarterbacks in the same draft.
Another agency that emphasizes the importance of leaving a legacy is David Dunn at Athletes First, who currently has one of the biggest football practices. Their roster has more than 80 NFL players and David has negotiated more contracts than any other current agent, including the contracts for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews. The firm is heavily involved in charity work, working with the Orangewood Foundation and other organizations in order to raise millions of dollars for charities across the world. The Legacy Agency merged two separate firms who both are leaders in their space and it is no accident they both spun off from Leigh Steinberg. Additionally, even Vanguard who represents Von Miller, the Super Bowl MVP, was founded by a Leigh Steinberg disciple. The ideas these firms espouse, and no doubt these agencies are all leaders in creating legacies and goodness, all have spun off from Leigh Steinberg.
Finally, Sports 1 Marketing founded by Warren Moon and myself, have spun off from Leigh with the exact same vision to create a legacy. My motto “Make a lot of Money, Help a lot of People, and Have a lot of fun” took several years for me to develop, but inspired by my dearest mentor, Leigh Steinberg. We work with hundreds of philanthropic organizations, raising millions of dollars with programs like Processing For a Cause because our main objective is to create a legacy of goodness. All of these firms that have come from Leigh Steinberg have learned what is truly important about being a sports agent. Empowering athletes to use their celebrity to do good!
Leigh Steinberg is one of the Hall of Fame sports agents and although he may never have 8 first picks in a row again, he has created and inspired the top firms in the industry to affect change and create a legacy of goodness. Once again, nice guys don’t always finish last. Thank you and congratulations, Leigh!
By: David Meltzer