It's one thing to fail as a professional football player. There's not necessarily any shame in that, because it's not a reflection of who you are as a person; just who you are as an athlete. So Ryan Leaf couldn't hack it in the NFL. Big deal. Neither can the overwhelming majority of the people in the world.
When the missteps go from on the field to off, though, it seems like it takes failure to a whole new level. That pushes someone from Akili Smith territory towards Lawrence Phillips territory. Akili Smith territory is better.
Leaf was indicted yesterday in Texas on seven counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, one count of delivery of a simulated controlled substance, and then the real kicker, one count of burglary of a habitation. Here are the details on the dirty deeds, via the AP:
The indictment said Leaf presented an incomplete medical history to several physicians between January 2008 and September 2008 to get or try to obtain the painkiller Hydrocodone.
Canyon police Lt. Dale Davis said Leaf is suspected of breaking into a Canyon apartment on Oct. 30 and stealing Hydrocodone, which had been prescribed to an injured football player.
“There were signs of a forced entry,” Davis said. “A window in the back of the home was (damaged).”
The count of delivery of a simulated controlled substance alleges Leaf gave an individual a substance he said was Hydrocodone but was not that drug.
It sounds like there are some serious addiction issues in play here, and the district attorney says Leaf's currently in rehab in British Columbia. Here's hoping he gets the help he needs.
For those of you who don't know, I'm a Chargers fan, and at one point, was maybe the world's most ardent supporter of Ryan Leaf. I was certain that the Chargers got the best quarterback in the 1998 draft (my apologies, Peyton), I believed he could turn things around after he completed his rookie year with a quarterback rating of 39.0 and I still hadn't given up hope after the 2000 season when both Moses Moreno and Craig Whelihan had proven they were better quarterbacks. I even thought there was a chance that Leaf would get things turned around in Tampa, Dallas or Seattle.
I was completely in the bag for Ryan Leaf. And I guess I still am, because even though I've accepted that he's the biggest draft bust of all time (which I'll never be allowed to forget, either, as long as the NFL draft exists), I didn't see this coming, even though signs were there.
If you'd like to reminisce about Leaf's glory years at Washington State, Dr. Saturday has a nice take on that. I'm going to go stare at my Ryan Leaf action figure and cry myself to sleep wondering what could have been. Or what might still be. When all this gets sorted out, maybe I could be the Stevie Janowski to his Kenny Powers.