Ryan Leaf went to jail because of his legal problems. Is he out now? Find out what he’s doing now and what he’s doing after football.
The former quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) played for four seasons.
He played football for the Seattle Seahawks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the San Diego Chargers, and the Dallas Cowboys between 1998 and 2001.
Leaf went to college and played football for the Washington State Cougars. During his junior year, he was one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
Ryan was picked second overall by the San Diego Chargers in the 1998 NFL Draft, after Peyton Manning. Still, his career ended early because he wasn’t very good at what he did, he was a bad sport, he got hurt, and he had problems with his work ethic.
What happened to Ryan Leaf? Is he still in jail?
Ryan Leaf works as a program ambassador for the Transcend Recovery Community now that he has finished his time in jail.
He works for a group of places that help people get clean and stay clean in New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. He also works as a college football host on the radio and as a TV analyst for the sport.
In 2010, after a judge in Texas gave him a 10-year probation, he started getting into trouble with the law because of drugs. Two years later, Leaf pleaded guilty in Montana to felony burglary and having drugs on his person.
Leaf started serving a seven-year prison sentence in December 2012, after having his sentence put on hold and going to drug rehab.
Leaf stole prescription drugs from her home in Montana while she was on probation in Texas. On September 9, 2014, she was given a five-year prison sentence. But on December 3, 2014, he was let out of jail.
A Quick Look at How Old Ryan Leaf Is and His Family
Ryan Leaf is 46 years old. He was born on May 15, 1976, making him 46 years old. He grew up in Great Falls, Montana, with his family.
His parents are John and Marcia Leaf, and they have two kids. Ryan’s younger brother is named Brady, and he plays the same sport as Ryan.
Between 2003 and 2006, his younger brother Brady Leaf filled in for Dennis Dixon as the Oregon Ducks’ backup quarterback. In September 2010, the Associated Press said that Leaf was in Montana to see his family.
Nicole Lucia is the daughter of financial radio host Ray Lucia and a Chargers cheerleader. In 2001, she got married to Leaf. They stopped seeing each other in November 2003, and they eventually got a divorce. But in 2017, he got engaged to Anna Kleinsorge, who used to play volleyball for the Georgetown Hoyas.
Peyton Manning, who was picked first overall in the 1998 draft before Ryan Leaf, and Leaf talk to each other a lot.
When Manning’s statue was unveiled at Lucas Oil Stadium, Leaf sent a text message to Manning’s family thanking them for helping him while he was in jail.
Ryan Leaf’s Football Career Earnings
During his football career, Ryan Leaf made a lot of money. He is now worth a lot of money.
He was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, made the first team of All-America by The Sporting News, and had the second-best passer rating in the country.
After the Rose Bowl made him a possible first-overall pick in the NFL Draft, Leaf decided to skip his last year at Washington State and enter the 1998 draft instead.
Manning was picked first by the Colts, and Leaf was picked second by the Chargers. The Chargers gave Manning a four-year contract worth $31.25 million, which included the highest signing bonus ever given to a rookie at the time: a guaranteed $11.25 million.
Going to college
After leading Charles M. Russell High School in Great Falls, Montana, to the 1992 Montana state championship, the head coach at the University of Miami at the time, Dennis Erickson, told him that his build and athleticism were good for a tight end or maybe a linebacker. He decided to be a quarterback for the Washington State Cougars instead after head coach Mike Price, who had coached Drew Bledsoe for many years when he was with the New England Patriots, called him while he was watching the Rose Bowl and said, “If you come here, we’re going there.” Leaf didn’t know that Washington State hadn’t been to the Rose Bowl since 1931, but he told Sports Illustrated later that he knew right away he wanted to play for Price and accept a scholarship.
He played 32 games for Washington State, and 24 of those games were as a starter. During his junior year, he averaged 330.6 passing yards per game and threw for 33 touchdowns, which was a Pac-10 record at the time. He also led the Cougars to the school’s first-ever Pac-10 championship. Even though he had a good start in the 1998 Rose Bowl, Washington State lost 21–16 to the Michigan Wolverines, who went on to win the Associated Press national championship.
In that year, Leaf was one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which is given every year to the “most outstanding” college football player in the United States. The winner is chosen by the media and former players. He came in third, behind the winner, Charles Woodson of Michigan, and Peyton Manning of Tennessee, who is also a quarterback. He was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, made The Sporting News’s first-team All-American list, and finished the season with the second-best passer rating in the country. The Rose Bowl made him a possible first-overall pick in the NFL Draft, so Leaf decided to skip his senior year at Washington State and enter the 1998 draft instead.
1998 NFL Draft
Most people thought that Peyton Manning and Leaf were the two best players in the 1998 NFL Draft, and scouts and analysts argued about who should be picked first. Tony Dungy, coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said, “Manning-Leaf was really split when you talked to people,” even though his team didn’t need a quarterback. Many people liked Leaf because he had a stronger arm and more potential, but others thought Manning was the more experienced player and safer choice. Most people thought, though, that it didn’t matter much whether Manning or Leaf was picked first because either one would be a big help to his team.
That year, the Indianapolis Colts had the first pick in the draft. Team scouts liked Leaf better, but Colts president Bill Polian and the coaching staff liked Manning better, especially after finding out that he could throw harder than Leaf during individual workouts. Manning’s interview also made the team like him, but Leaf’s didn’t. Leaf’s draft prospect profile said that the player was “so sure of himself that some people find him arrogant and almost annoying.” Leaf put on about 20 pounds between the end of his junior season and the NFL Combine in February. One of the six experts consulted by Sports Illustrated, Jerry Angelo, said this was “a [negative] signal” about Leaf’s self-discipline. All six thought that Manning would be the best choice, but the magazine said, “It seems likely that both Manning and Leaf will become at least good NFL starters.”
The third pick in the draft went to the San Diego Chargers. Polian told Bobby Beathard, who is in charge of running the Chargers, that he would not trade the Colts’ pick. Beathard said later that he would have taken Archie Manning’s son Eli Manning with the first pick because he knew his father, but that didn’t mean Ryan was bad at the time. After scoring the fewest touchdowns in the league the year before, his team needed a new quarterback. To get the second draft pick from the Arizona Cardinals, San Diego traded its third overall pick, a future first round pick, a second round pick, and three-time Pro Bowler Eric Metcalf. This gave San Diego the right to draft whichever of the two quarterbacks Indianapolis didn’t take first. The Colts picked Manning first, and the Chargers picked Leaf second. The Chargers signed Leaf to a four-year contract worth $31.25 million, which included a guaranteed $11.25 million signing bonus. At the time, this was the biggest signing bonus ever given to a rookie. Leaf said, “I hope to play for 15 years, go to the Super Bowl twice, and have a parade through downtown San Diego.” Leaf flew to Las Vegas, Nevada, on the jet of Chargers owner Alex Spanos and partied all night. At his first news conference the next day, Leaf yawned.
season of 1998
San Diego had high hopes for Leaf, but they were quickly dashed when he had a bad rookie season. He missed the last day of a mandatory symposium for all NFL draftees and had to pay a $10,000 fine. Still, Leaf played well in the preseason and the first two games of the season, when the Chargers won both. Even though Leaf made mistakes like fumbling the first snap and throwing two interceptions, the Chargers beat the Buffalo Bills 16–14 in the season opener on September 6, 1998. Two of Leaf’s interceptions were called back because of penalties from the Bills. In the game, San Diego was up 10–0 after Leaf threw a touchdown pass of 6 yards to Bryan Still, which came after a 67-yard pass to Still. But when Leaf picked off a pass late in the game, San Diego fell behind 14–13. Leaf completed 16 of 31 passes for 192 yards in the first game. In the second game, a 13–7 win over the Tennessee Oilers, he completed 13 of 24 passes for 179 yards and ran the ball seven times for 31 yards.
Leaf was hospitalized three days before the Chargers played the Kansas City Chiefs on September 20. He had a viral infection that he said was caused by a burn on the artificial turf that wasn’t cleaned well enough. In a 23–7 loss, he started the game but only completed one of 15 passes for four yards, threw two interceptions, and lost four fumbles. The next day, Leaf was caught on camera telling San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Jay Posner to “knock it off” during a locker room interview. He was led away by Junior Seau and a team executive, during which he called Posner a “fucking bitch.” He later told Posner he was sorry about what happened.
Leaf was replaced by former sixth-round pick Craig Whelihan after the New York Giants picked off four of his passes in the first half of Week 4 (September 28). On October 4, he started the next game, which the Indianapolis Colts and top pick Peyton Manning won 17–12. Both quarterbacks completed 12 of 23 passes and threw one interception. Leaf had 23 more passing yards (160) than Manning, but Manning threw the only touchdown and was never brought down, while Leaf was brought down four times. In the last two minutes, when San Diego was down 14–6, Leaf’s 56-yard pass to Charlie Jones set up a one-yard touchdown run by Natrone Means. However, Leaf’s two-point conversion pass to Webster Slaughter, which could have tied the game, was incomplete. After going 4-of-15 for 23 yards and throwing an interception against the Denver Broncos on November 8, he lost his starting job for good. Whelihan took over. Leaf threw for 1,289 yards and completed 45.3% of his passes in ten games. He scored only two touchdowns and threw fifteen interceptions, giving him a terrible quarterback rating of 39.0.
Leaf had bad relationships with the media and with his teammates, who he often blamed for his bad play. He also got a bad reputation for not working hard, like when he played golf while other quarterbacks were studying film.
Beathard said, “Men can be jerks, but I’ve never seen a guy try harder to turn his teammates against him. Junior Seau and Rodney Harrison told me, “Bobby, this person is killing me.”” Harrison said that Leaf’s immaturity and Whelihan’s lack of skill made the 1998 season “a nightmare.” He said, “If I had to go through another year like that, I’d probably quit playing.” During the offseason, Seau asked the team’s management to sign a veteran quarterback and “get a guy in here not to babysit, but to win.”