New DeBartolo deal: athletes

The developer and ex- NFL owner acquires a sports agency.

Published December 6, 2006

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is playing for a new team.

Of sports agents, that is.

DeBartolo Sports and Entertainment LLC of Tampa said Tuesday that it has acquired Cindrich & Co., a Pittsburgh sports agency run by former NFL player Ralph Cindrich.

Gradkowski, along with former Buc Brian Griese and about 50 other NFL players, were represented by Cindrich.

DeBartolo Sports and Entertainment is an arm of DeBartolo Holdings, a company run by Eddie DeBartolo Jr. that deals in commercial real estate development and banking. The DeBartolo empire was built by Edward J. DeBartolo Sr., who developed hundreds of shopping malls from the 1960s to the 1980s, including Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg and University Mall in Tampa.

Eddie DeBartolo Jr., whose net worth is listed by Forbes at $1.4-billion (the largest noted by the magazine in the Tampa Bay area), is a former owner of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.

DeBartolo Jr. has kept his distance from pro sports since 1998, when he pleaded guilty to failing to report a bribe to former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards for a casino license in the state. DeBartolo was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $1-million.

The NFL also fined DeBartolo $1-million and suspended him from the league. He later gave up control of the 49ers to his sister.