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Bankruptcy filing for 'Jerry Maguire' sports agent

Bankruptcy filing delayed for several years to try to pay off debts, says superstar agent Leigh Steinberg, who served as inspiration for movie 'Jerry Maguire.' But aggressive actions by creditors forced bankruptcy filing.

By Bernie WilsonAP Sports Writer / January 12, 2012

In this 2006 file photo, celebrity sports agent Leigh Steinberg poses during a ceremony at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Mr. Steinberg filed for bankruptcy protection Jan. 11, 2012. Aggressive creditors forced the bankruptcy filing, he said in a statement.

Mark Duncan/AP/File

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SAN DIEGO

Sports agent Leigh Steinberg, who represented many of the NFL's biggest stars and was the inspiration for the movie "Jerry Maguire," has filed for bankruptcy protection.

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Known as the first super agent, Steinberg said Wednesday that he takes responsibility for debts of several million dollars.

"I just lost track while I was in rehab," Steinberg told The Associated Press. He 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 bankruptcy 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, told him not to show up and then failed to reschedule.

Court documents show a default judgment ordered Steinberg to pay the Irvine Co. for office space he leased in Newport Beach.

The agent said his debts are larger than the $1.4 million owed to the Irvine Co., and that his attorneys are still compiling the total. He said his only assets are some stock.

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.

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."

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