An Athlete, A Martyr, and a Thief: The Story of Ryan Leaf


The world is a cruel place. One can be on top of the proverbial mountain — only to unceremoniously tumble down into a pit of sheer desperation. In essence, this is the story of former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf.

An elite prospect coming out of college, many had pegged him a superior athlete to that of Peyton Manning. Possessing rocket-like arm strength and immense upside, Leaf had all the talent one would look for in a franchise quarterback. However, character concerns and multiple off-the-field transgressions derailed the promising career before it even started. Leaf went from hot-shot NFL prospect to an afterthought in what seemed like minutes. 

As his life progressed, Leaf became a mere shell of himself. He resorted to illegal activities — which then resulted in harsh consequences. Though the game of football provided financial stability and a sense of self-worth, Leaf’s inner demons simply were not going to be denied from running rampant on his soul. 

Manning went on to gain universal acclaim as one of the game’s best. He then parlayed football success into the avenues of television and entertainment. Leaf could’ve been that guy. Instead, his life took him down a much darker road. 

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