Why Ryan Leaf Is the Biggest Bust in NFL History

Ryan WaltonContributor IFebruary 26, 2009

The Chargers wonder why, unlike Linda Lovelace, they can't handle any big ones. Mediocre draft picks—especially at the QB positions. I guess Philip Rivers and Drew Brees are exceptions to that rule, but where are all the other QBs?

Personally I hate the Chargers, so I don't really care. But one in particular stands out in my mind. His name is Ryan Leaf.

After a semi-productive three years at Washington State, Leaf declared himself eligible for the NFL draft. We all know Mel Kiper Jr. is a crazy man with too much time on his hands who has singlehandedly destroyed franchises with his bogus top 10. He said Ryan Leaf was the best QB in this draft.

The only problem was Peyton Manning was in this draft. The Tennessee play-caller was obviously better than Mr. Leaf. But according Kiper, he was slow-footed.

When draft day came, Peyton was first overall, but Leaf was the second pick overall by the San Diego Chargers. They obviously needed a QB, and they thought Leaf would and could be the cornerstone of their franchise for many years to come. They were obviously mistaken.

After a subpar first season, Leaf was often hurt and couldn't swallow any big games whole. In his one playoff appearance in his brief career he is 0-1. In that playoff game he uttered the now infamous clip. A reporter asked him a simple question, and he responded by saying, "just don't fucking talk to me man."

After another season with the Chargers that ended in disappointment, the Chargers released Leaf. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There he reinjured his wrist and was released the following offseason. Although his wrist wasn't fully healed, he attempted another comeback in football with the Dallas Cowboys. He again reinjured his wrist.

This time he finally realized his NFL career was over and retired. Junior Seau said, "He finally did something smart. He got his money and got out."

Ryan Leaf will forever live in infamy as the biggest bust in NFL history. The sad part is that the Chargers could've had Charles Woodson, Fred Taylor, Keith Brooking, or even Takeo Spikes.

These reasons make Ryan Leaf the biggest bust in NFL history.