He is possibly the biggest bust in NFL Draft history. Everyone knows that he went No. 2 overall in the 1998 draft, one position behind Peyton Manning. I bet the Colts are glad they went the way they did, since it wasn't such a clear choice at the time.
Ever since the botched spike in the Rose Bowl, Leaf's life has turned grey. It wasn't so gradual either. Other than going second in the draft, there is not much Leaf has to feel good about.
He may have cursed himself when he announced shortly after the draft, "I'm looking forward to a 15-year career, a couple of trips to the Super Bowl, and a parade through downtown San Diego."
Needless to say, his career did not last 15 years. He was in the league from 1998-2002, kind of. He played nine games in '98, nine more in '00, and four more in '01, missing all of 1999 with an injury.
That is the part of the story that most people know.
After he retired, while a member of the Seahawks, his fourth team (Tampa Bay the other unmentioned), he made sure to stay out of sight. It wasn't until 2004, when ESPN named him the top bust in NFL Draft history AND their top bust in any sport, that he was in the news again.
According to Leaf, this has been the best time of his life. I cannot agree with him. It had to be that moment, the moment when he realized he got paid an $11.5m bonus to throw 36 INTs to only 14 TDs in his career. If you think Rex Grossman is bad, forget it; Leaf's career passer rating is 50.0, 20.9 points lower than Grossman's (70.9 for the non-math majors).
So, out of the spotlight he stayed for a couple more years, until 2006. He then decided to join Don Carthel at West Texas A&M. The bad part was that it wasn't as a waterboy. For some stupid reason, they thought he would be a good quarterback coach.
Now, just because you suck at something, doesn't mean you don't know how to do it. Many people know how to do something, but they don't have the talent to apply the knowledge. Plus, Leaf was a successful college quarterback.
So what am I calling it a stupid reason for?
Let me ask you this.
You are a talented quarterback coming out of high school. You have always wanted to go to West Texas A&M, lots of great QB prospects want to...OK, that's not true, but just say you did. You are being recruited and it looks like your dream is coming true.
*SMACK* You get hit right in the face when you find out that your dream team has just hired the worst NFL quarterback in history. I mean, Matt Cassel is clearly a better QB and he never even started a college game! It is likely that your grandmother could get a QB rating higher than Leaf's.
How can they expect 18-22 year old kids to listen to the biggest QB failure of their lives? Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning were just starting their NFL careers as these boys were starting to play football. Right at the time that many were in the back yard like their favorite QBs.
Some of these kids, rest their souls, may have even said, "You were Ryan Leaf last time, it is my turn!"
On top of this, the man that was once rumored to fake a wrist injury so that he could get out of practice and go golfing was hired as their head golf coach in '07. I mean, that has got to be the easiest retirement ever. Especially for someone that never did their initial job. Most people get fired, how did he even retire?
Times have changed. DeAngelo Hall just got released, only eight games into a seven year, $70m contract.
Apparently his "retirement" wasn't easy enough. His side jobs must have been terrible for him. Coaching two sports, who can handle it?
His second career may have ended as abruptly and painful as his first. For, he was put on indefinite leave yesterday when he made it publicly known how he copes with his failures. He abuses pain killers.
It is reported that he asked a player if they had a pain pill that he could get from them. I am guessing it wasn't as simple as Tylenol or Aspirin. On the other hand, it may have been Midol, it is said to help with bloating and cramps.
On a more serious note, it is sad to see professional athletes fall from grace. Not to mention his fall was not nearly as graceful as some others. It would not be near as humorous to hear about his short comings if he wasn't such of an a$$hole himself. I used the dollar signs to represent the fact that he is also a money thief.