There’s Always One Isn’t There …………?
I was reading today with great interest that former NFL player Ryan Leaf was sentenced to 10 years probation , having plead guilty to a burglary and drug related robbery case. For a person who many believed would be one the bright faces within the NFL . The fall from grace of Ryan Leaf, simply has been astounding. Need I remind you all that ESPN’s Mel Kiper proclaimed that one day Leaf would be an ‘NFL star’ and will have a led a franchise to multiple postseason and Superbowl appearances ? And he also proclaimed that the player would win a Superbowl within three years of having entered the NFL. Never mind the fact that the ESPN draft guru also stated that in his mind Leaf would be a better prospect in the NFL than the Indianapolis Colts’ – Peyton Manning . Well it looks as if Leaf is closer to ending up in the ‘big house’ while at some time in the not too distant future a bust of Manning will be taking up residence in the hallowed halls , in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. How’s that pick now looking Mel ? Dumb ass !
Another reason why Leaf has to be considered one of the NFL’s biggest busts !
Leaf having been drafted out of Washington State in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft , was taken second overall behind Manning and ahead of Andre Wadsworth who was taken by the Arizona Cardinals . The lucky recipients of Leaf’s services would be the San Diego Chargers , who felt that they saw something of worth in the player. Oh, how wrong they were ! Leaf never acclimatized himself to the regimen or the rigors of the NFL. And his temperament and immaturity showed that he was never going to amount to much as a player within the league. He could go down as one of ‘the biggest busts ever’ to have entered and to be picked by a franchise in the NFL. Mind you, the jury is still out on the bumbling , bungling , JaMarcus Russell of the Oakland Raiders . But at least Russell has yet to run the wrath of the NFL hierarchy or fallen afoul of law enforcement . There’s always time though, given the fact that he’s got to deal with Tom Cable and his coaching staff ! .
Who can fail to remember this now famous incident ?
Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports
By Betsy Blaney , Associated Press News Writer
Lubbock , Texas (AP)—Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf has agreed to plead guilty in his Texas drug and burglary case in exchange for 10 years of probation, attorneys in the case said Thursday.
Leaf’s attorney, Bill Kelly, said his client has agreed to plead guilty to seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and one count of delivery of a simulated controlled substance. Leaf would be on probation for 10 years and a burglary charge would be dropped.
A judge must approve the deal, which includes Leaf paying a $20,000 fine, Kelly said.
Leaf, who is living in Canada, was a star at Washington State but a bust during his four-year NFL career. He coached quarterbacks at West Texas A&M in Canyon, where the indictment was returned last May.
Leaf was accused of presenting an incomplete medical history to several physicians between January 2008 and September 2008 to get or try to obtain the painkiller Hydrocodone. He also allegedly forced his way into a Canyon apartment in October 2008 and stole Hydrocodone that had been prescribed to an injured football player.
Randall County District Attorney James Farren said he decided to drop the burglary charge after receiving a letter from the victim, a player Leaf coached at West Texas A&M, about three weeks ago.
“He’s not happy about being a key factor in a criminal prosecution of his former coach,” Farren said. “I suspect that he and most of the young men Ryan Leaf worked with … want him to get some counseling and help. They care about him.”
It was important to get the burglary charge dropped in the deal, Kelly said.
“It would have a very negative impact and might keep Ryan from going back to Canada because of the laws that are applicable in Canada,” he said. “We need to get this behind him and get him on his way.”
Farren said a “pattern” of abusing prescription drugs will lead him to include counseling and drug testing in probation terms he’ll recommend to the judge.
If the deal is approved and Leaf successfully completes his probation there will be no convictions on his record; a record of his arrest would remain. If Leaf fails to meet the terms of his probation, he could face jail time, Farren said.
“If I were Mr. Leaf I’d want to make sure I can do this, that I can successfully complete this,” he said. “He has a lot of exposure. “It could end up being a long time” in prison.
Leaf resigned in November 2008 in the middle of his third season as quarterbacks coach. Kelly said Leaf is “doing OK” and believes he is selling vacation packages to corporate clients at a resort.
For Ryan Leaf to have fallen so far , so fast from within the upper echelons of the NFL either says something about the league or it says something about the college ranks and the players there. Either it’s the coaching or simply the players lack common sense and maturity. Or could it be that the coaches and the general manager of the Chargers didn’t use all due diligence during not only the interview process but also in their scouting of the player ? I’d hate to think that the front office of the Chargers still performs like that to this day !
As Leaf’s career within the NFL faltered, we saw the rise in that Peyton Manning’s . And it can be said that he’s amongst the ‘elite’ of the players at the position with the NFL and a bona-fide first time ballot Hall of Fame candidate for Canton , Ohio. Unfortunately, for Leaf the only possible way for him to enter Canton may well be as a paying visitor. Many now feel that it is fortuitous that the Colts avoided taking Leaf and chose Manning instead. As for the Chargers their struggles at the time were well chronicled and fate may well have changed when they were able to obtain Phillip Rivers by way of a same day trade in exchange for Eli Manning . If one remembers Manning having been picked number one overall by the Chargers , the player refused to play for the team and not only reiterated that in public but stated that he would not report to them at all. He forced the hand of Chargers’ ownership and in particular the team’s GM A. J. Smith and a trade was arranged with the New York Giants who’d taken Rivers ‘fourth overall’ in the 2004 NFL Draft . And one wonders why ‘the power within the NFL is the hands of the “players” and their union the NFLPA‘ ? You might be under the impression that this is an owner and NFL hierarchy driven league. But nothing could be further from the truth.
To try understand Ryan Leaf is to try and understand an ill disciplined child or adult who feels that they ought to feel entitled to the ‘finer things in life’ without having earned it on their own merits. The league itself also enables the players to act in such a way as to their conduct. Prior to Roger Goodell becoming the commissioner of the NFL . His predecessor , Paul Tagliabue was never known to be a strict disciplinarian. Never mind the fact the NFLPA’s present and past Executive Directors DeMaurice Smith and the late Gene Upshaw rarely showed concern for the behavior of their members. But even now one can’t be too sure what to expect of Goodell as he arbitrarily uses his weapon of choice , suspensions to mete out punishment as it concerns the league’s conduct policy. You’d be also hard pressed to even suggest that anyone within the Chargers’ front office actually had a backbone to actually reprimand Ryan Leaf for his now infamous outbursts and behavior in the locker or room or in public. But then again that would’ve been far too much to expect from the hierarchy there to begin with. They’re gutless as well as spineless when it comes to dealing with the behavior of the players !
Leaf bounced around the league having been cut by the Chargers. He would have brief stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys . Why either of those franchises would believe that they could redeem the Ryan Leaf’s career is totally beyond me , given the evidence shown in the player’s demeanor ! But then again a fool and their money are easily parted when they show complete ignorance of the obvious.
Ryan Leaf’s fall from grace was further exacerbated and which brought about his present predicament when as assistant trainer of a Texas high school football team . He was implicated in stealing medication from the locker of a student. At the time it had been alleged that the former NFL player had also been involved in trying to obtain prescriptive drug medication by fraudulent means. Leaf , allegedly an obsessed pill popper was addicted to pain killers such as oxycodone (oxycontin), percoet and percodan . Injuries or not Leaf’s problems concerning his addiction goes way beyond just simple addiction. It has to be psychological and that sense of failure in the fact that he failed to live up the expectations and the lofty goals that many had set for the player. But the blame here lies squarely on the shoulders of Leaf, himself. If he’s unwilling to be held accountable for his own actions . Then he can hardly expect anyone to sympathize with his situation.
Now looking back on this all, and having read this story about Leaf. I can’t help but wonder what might have been were he able to actually hold himself in check. We might well have been now speaking about Leaf as being one the elite players at his position within the NFL. Unfortunately, when one now mentions the name Ryan Leaf, we all just consider one word and cordially assign it to him . And that word is “bust” …………as in Ryan Leaf is a complete and utter bust within the NFL !
Which players do you believe drafted in the NFL rank up there alongside Leaf and who in your mind you’d deem to have been a complete and utter failure ? They can be a player obviously from the past or a player presently within the NFL. I look forward to reading and responding to your comments. And as always thanks for the continued support. It’s greatly appreciated and welcomed ! Thank you !
Alan Parkins aka the oraclesays aka tophatal …………..
Patsy Cline …….”I Fall To Pieces” I think that this song , sung by Cline typically sums up Leaf !
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