It’s hard to believe that the man in this photo was selected number two overall in the NFL Draft just 16 years ago. It’s also unfathomable, in hindsight, to recall that the Colts seriously considered selecting him with the first pick in lieu of the guy they actually chose: Peyton Manning. But look at Ryan Leaf now, fresh off a two and a half year sentence for breaking into a home and stealing prescription drugs. According to Deadspin, his stint didn’t go so well.
Leaf was in a drug treatment center but got kicked out and returned to traditional prison after violating the conditions of his placement, including, according to an administrator, “threatening a staff member.”
And while he was in prison in Montana, he also got in trouble in Texas because the arrest violated his probation there. In Texas, he had pleaded guilty to seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud after a mess that included accusations he broke into a player’s home while he coached at West Texas A&M and used an incomplete medical history to get nearly 1,000 pain pills, the Associated Press reported.
Here’s a recap of Leaf’s missteps since just before the 1998 NFL Draft, leading up to this point.
Look at him. He looks like a guy you see hunched over at the penny slots in a casino off the Vegas Strip wearing a fanny pack full of saltine crackers. He looks sad and downtrodden. He looks depressed and sloppy. He just looks like total shit.
Throwback to the Manning-Leaf debate of ’98:
Image via Montana Department of Corrections