Steinberg has blamed only himself for his debts and drinking, which he said stemmed from a series of personal and business setbacks over several years.
"No question he has done a 180-degree turnaround," Gillam said. "It's one thing to get to a year. Three full years, I think this is something we can comfortably say is his new state. He is clean and sober. I think what anybody can say about Leigh, even people who have found themselves on the opposite side of the fence, is he's a man we need back in the game."
Steinberg is on the board of directors and a shareholder in Gillam's company, DeskSite, which has developed an app that allows fans to download customized, HD video of their favorite NFL teams to computers, rather than smart phones, with advertising targeted to the age and gender of the user.
"He's turning 64 but it seems more like he's 44. There's a gleam in his eye. ... I think this is going to be the year of Leigh Steinberg," Gillam said.
Hall of Famers Moon and Smith — two examples of former Steinberg clients with successful second careers — are pulling for their former agent in his comeback.
"I think being sober for three years is something he's proud of and I'm definitely proud of him for," said Moon, who lives in Seattle and runs a sports and entertainment marketing company in Irvine. "It took him a long time to get over that. He battled for a while. He tried everything over and over to make that happen and he finally got to the point where he conquered it."
Smith is now a real estate developer in Virginia.
"Leigh was once a brilliant sports agent and it would be nice to see him return back to the prominence that he once had," Smith said.
While he has interest in new technologies and environmental causes, Steinberg is most fervent about crusading for raising awareness of concussions and advocating safety changes. He's been concerned since the early 1990s because whenever his clients — particularly quarterbacks — sustained a concussion, doctors couldn't answer basic questions such as how many were too many and what were the long-term effects.
"It got to the point where I can no longer represent players and claim to be looking out for their best interests if I don't spend time trying to raise awareness in suggesting changes to make the game safer," said Steinberg, who hosted concussion seminars and issued white papers. "I felt like an enabler where I was facilitating athletes to do an act that was hazardous to their health. At least they needed to be aware."
Steinberg said he's concerned because players are bigger, stronger and faster, and they absorb thousands of sub-concussive hits during their careers.
"We've long known that because of damages to the body that occur in football that a 40-year-old player might have pain leaning over to pick up his child. It's another thing not to be able to recognize the child," Steinberg said.
"That's why I call it a ticking time bomb and undiagnosed health epidemic. There will be massive amounts of damage in years to come that we haven't even experienced before."
While Steinberg credits NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for doing more than all of his predecessors combined on concussions, the agent fears football could suffer in the future due to insurance liability and parents not letting their kids play.
Among his many pursuits, Steinberg said he's working with a physician to produce a sports drink that includes an antioxidant, nutraceutical compound geared to roll back the chemical reaction in cells that occurs in a concussion
Once he relaunches his agency, Steinberg said it's not necessarily important to return to the top of the business.
"No, what's important is to represent impactful athletes who make a difference," said Steinberg, who plans to mentor young agents. "But that was always my approach. That's why I was so quarterback-heavy. They're the central players. I can't replicate the statistical success of the past. I don't think anybody ever will. I mean, God bless them if they do."