In retrospect, few quarterbacks would fare well in Ryan Leaf’s position. You’re the second-overall pick, after future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. Not only are you the dude taken right after the guy with the “laser, rocket arm,” but you play quarterback.
Your career and your fate are forever tied to the success of Peyton Manning.
It’s a shadow few men could escape and was certainly beyond the capability of Leaf, who by all accounts was a jerk in the locker room and lazy in the film room. While Leaf’s plight is one of the most famous in NFL draft lore, his story certainly isn’t unique — plenty of players have come into the NFL with high expectations and failed to meet them.
Leaf pissed off his teammates, was belligerent with the media and was awful on the field. After two seasons he was waived by the San Diego Chargers, and after brief stints with Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Seattle, his NFL career was over after just three years.
After retiring in 2002, Leaf earned his bachelor’s degree from Washington State in 2005 and went on to work as a volunteer quarterback coach with Texas A&M. He seemed to come to terms with his legacy, but in 2008, Leaf resigned after improperly soliciting pain medication from a player.
This incident seemed to be just the beginning of a sad, new chapter in Leaf’s life, as multiple arrests for felony burglary and drug-related crimes culminated into a five-year prison sentence with 15 months of substance abuse treatment.
After just two years, Leaf was released from prison. He had been serving time in Montana since being arrested in March 2012 on burglary and drug charges. Leaf, who was trying to steal prescription pills, broke into two homes in one weekend in 2012. Leaf was supposed to spend at least 15 months in a treatment facility, however, he was kicked out of treatment in January 2013.
Although he’s out of prison, Leaf is still on probation and has been placed under supervision of the Great Falls Probation and Parole Department.
There’s still a chance that Leaf could be extradited to Texas for a crime he committed in 2008. In the Texas case, Leaf pleaded guilty to seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Leaf violated the terms of his Texas probation when he was arrested in Montana.
According to the Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune, it would take at least six months for an extradition to Texas to happen.
Two years in prison has slightly changed the way the 38-year-old quarterback looks, something everyone on the internet seemed to notice when Leaf was released.