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by Sonya Padgett
LVRJ.com

At 6 foot 4 and 275 pounds, Russell Joyner cuts an imposing figure sitting at a conference table in his office.

Broad-shouldered and solid, he looks every bit the part of the linebacker he played in the NFL as he listens attentively to one of his employees, Amanda Cole. She’s describing how a temporary tenant wants to sign a long-term lease for a store in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort.

“Coach them up. Coach them up,” says Joyner, 50.

Aside from his physique and a few discreet mementos decorating his office — a plaque commemorating his college team’s appearance in the 1982 Tangerine Bowl hangs on one wall — that phrase is the only outward sign during the meeting that football was a major influence in his life.

Though the gridiron is worlds away from a shopping mall, Joyner’s lessons he learned on the football field are always with him and, in fact, are largely responsible for getting him to where he is today: executive vice president and general manager of a mall that has experienced double-digit increases in sales and foot traffic during the past 15 months.

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