Inspiration for 'Jerry Maguire' Files for Bankruptcy

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"It was exactly the kind of transaction that I had specifically forbidden, and it violated NFL Players Association regulations," Steinberg said in a statement. "The NFL player understandably fired me, then went to a rival agency. As a matter of background, you should know that this company is run by an agent who used to work at our firm. We filed a lawsuit to challenge the way this agent had left our firm, and we won. Two attorneys on the losing side are involved in the current case concerning my debt."

Assanti said his client's total debt ranges from $1 million to $5 million, and the exact amount will be determined in the first creditors' meeting, which has not been scheduled.

Assanti said Steinberg has not been actively working as an agent but is "trying to get past his personal problems."

"He is absolutely brilliant," Assanti said. "He knew he needed to refocus on his life so he could help people again. He realized he needed to take out time for himself to make sure he could go on."

Cannella said Steinberg became fabulously wealthy and as big a star as the athletes themselves.

"On the other hand, his constant legal squabbling, feuding with rival agents and fights with and over clients were abject lessons in how cutthroat the sports agent industry is," he wrote. "No wonder he was the model for Jerry Maguire."

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