SBJ/November 10 - 16, 2003/Labor Agents

Steinberg move targets Southeast

NFL player agent Leigh Steinberg has formed a joint venture with Synergy Sports Management, a company that represents 13 NFL players, including Eagles running back Duce Staley and Jets defensive ends John Abraham and Shaun Ellis.

Mike West, owner of Greenville, S.C.-based Synergy, said he will retain a majority interest in the firm and Steinberg will have a minority interest.

Steinberg said Synergy will be renamed Steinberg, Tollner & Moon-East, as it will operate as the East Coast office of his football practice, which is also named for agents Ryan Tollner and Bruce Tollner and former NFL quarterback Warren Moon, a partner in the practice. Steinberg's firm represents 23 players on NFL rosters, so the joint venture will increase the client base to 36.

Steinberg

"It was a perfect opportunity to expand our reach in the Southeast," Steinberg said. "They have a tremendous reputation of taking care of their clients. They will help meet the needs of all of our athletes on the East Coast."

Synergy's agents, Derrick Harrison and Jason Waugh, will remain part of the joint venture. Synergy originally was founded by agents Brantley Evans and Ricky Lefft in 1997, but they both left the company last year after West bought in.

Harrison said he contacted Steinberg about the possibility of joining forces.

"In my opinion, Leigh Steinberg is one of the pioneers in the sports agent business," Harrison said. "Once he did his background [check] on our clients and our business, he felt it was very compatible with his firm."

Steinberg noted that although Synergy has a small practice, it has a strong group of players.

"Most of their players are either first rounders or Pro Bowlers," he said.

Other clients at the new Steinberg, Tollner & Moon-East include Patriots defensive tackle Richard Seymour,Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and Cardinals tight end Freddie Jones.

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