Leinart replaces Steinberg with Condon

Updated: April 18, 2006, 4:00 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Veteran agent Tom Condon, who represents many of the NFL's premier players and whose clientele includes a bevy of high-profile quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Marc Bulger, Byron Leftwich and Chris Simms, on Tuesday added another potential star to his galaxy.

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Condon confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he has been hired by Southern California quarterback and 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart to represent the Trojans star in his first NFL contract negotiations.

"They basically informed us at breakfast this morning that we were hired," Condon said. "Obviously, we're excited about the opportunity."

The choice of Condon, who has negotiated landmark contracts for players at several positions, had been anticipated since Leinart abruptly terminated his relationship with agent Leigh Steinberg late last week. Condon and longtime partner Ken Kremer recently left IMG Football after many years and signed on with Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency, which already had Leinart's marketing rights.

The Leinart family also met with at least two other sports representation firms in the past week before deciding Tuesday to retain Condon and CAA. Agent Chuck Price, who was a key figure in Leinart's association with Steinberg, will be part of the CAA team that represents him. Price's name, in addition to Condon's, will be on the standard representation agreement to be filed with the NFL Players Association.

The move to Condon brings all of Leinart's representation, for his football contract and all his marketing pursuits, under the CAA umbrella.

Although the agreement was signed on Tuesday, it was not yet certain if the documentation had been faxed to the NFLPA. According to NFLPA regulations, a player who terminates his agent must wait five days before hiring new representation. It is believed Leinart's five-day wait period expired on Monday.

To this point, Leinart, who on Tuesday auditioned for New York Jets officials, has not explained why he chose to fire Steinberg and seek different representation. Condon was on hand for part of Leinart's workout for the Jets on Tuesday morning.

Leinart will travel to New Orleans on Wednesday to meet with Saints coaches and executives. He is seen as the most polished of the "Big Three" quarterbacks rated as certain first-round choices in the April 29-30 draft and the most prepared to play quickly in the league.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

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