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For former NFL bust Ryan Leaf, it has not been a good week, or 10 years

April 2nd, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Back in the 1998 NFL Draft it was a toss-up between the first two picks.  Do you pick the strong-armed, mentally tough Peyton Manning out of the University of Tennessee, or the one with the stronger arm and more potential in Ryan Leaf out of Washington State University.

Wait, what?  Ryan Leaf?  That’s got to be a joke, right?

No, that is not a joke.  When you hear “more potential than Peyton Manning” it’s got to make you chuckle.  But back in ’98, that was the truth.  The differences in potential between the two seemed so small that most scouts and observers expected it would not greatly matter whether a team selected Manning or Leaf.

So the Colts made the smart move by drafting Manning, and the Chargers selected Leaf.  From the second he was drafted, it went all downhill from there.

The Chargers high hopes for Leaf were soon doomed by poor performances and horrible relationships with teammates, coaches, and the media.  This led to three awful years with the Chargers and his release in 2001.  After being bounced around from the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Seahawks, Leaf retired in 2002 with a failed football career.

The former #2 NFL draft pick finished his career with 14 touchdown passes and 36 interceptions with a 50.0 quarterback rating.

Since his career ended, he’s had a lot of legal issues.

In 2008, he was part of the West Texas A&M University football coaching staff, where he was then fired for allegedly asking one of his players for a pill to help him deal with pain in his wrist from past injuries.

In May 2009, Leaf was indicted on burglary and controlled substance charges in Texas. He was undergoing drug rehab in British Columbia at the time of the indictment and was arrested by customs agents as he returned to the United States.

In April 2010, Leaf pled guilty in Amarillo, Texas, to seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and one count of delivery of a simulated controlled substance, all felonies.  He was then sentenced to 10 years probation and fined $20,000.

And just recently, Police in Montana arrested Ryan Leaf after a month-long investigation that culminated with the former NFL quarterback breaking into an acquaintance’s home to steal prescription pain medication.  Leaf was arrested Friday in his hometown of Great Falls and charged with burglary, possession of a dangerous drug and theft.

So this is how the scenario went.  Task force members on Friday told Leaf’s probation officer to call in the ex-quarterback. They searched Leaf and his truck, finding two prescription bottles in a pocket of a golf bag, which was embroidered with Leaf’s name, so it was easy to charge him.  One unlabeled bottle had 28 pills that turned out to be oxycodone, a schedule 2 narcotic for which Leaf doesn’t have a prescription. The other was empty, but its label said it was oxycodone prescribed for another person.

Once again, Leaf keeps digging himself a deeper and deeper hole.  It’s really been a sad story for Leaf, who was a potential NFL superstar and let his ego and stubbornness get a hold of him and his career.  You almost got to feel bad for the guy.  A big question for him is where does he goes from here, because for a lot of people, this latest arrest comes as no surprise to this once potential star quarterback.



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