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Wild, unhinged tweet about Caleb Williams creates hilarious moment involving former Pac-12 QB

Sports fans can and do get excited. They love to be the first people in the room to say that a star athlete will be the next big thing. They also love to be the first people to say that a high draft pick will be the next really big bust. All of this recalls the memory of the 1998 NFL draft in which Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf were the top two picks. Manning went at No. 1 to the Indianapolis Colts and became a legend of the game. Ryan Leaf went at No. 2 to the then-San Diego Chargers and became one of the biggest NFL draft busts ever. Caleb Williams hopes to become Peyton, not Leaf. That said, a wildly incorrect tweet about Ryan Leaf — made by a person who was trying to trash Caleb Williams — gave Leafa a chance to have some fun.

It’s worth a look:

THE ERRONEOUS TWEET WHICH TRIED TO BASH CALEB WILLIAMS

LEAF'S RESPONSE

1997 HEISMAN WINNER: CHARLES WOODSON, MICHIGAN

1997 HEISMAN RUNNER-UP: PEYTON MANNING (NOT RYAN LEAF)

USA TODAY Sports Syndication — Knoxville News-Sentinel
USA TODAY Sports Syndication — Knoxville News-Sentinel

It’s crazy that the original tweeter identified Ryan Leaf as a former Heisman winner, given that Leaf wasn’t even in the top two in 1997’s final vote. It was Charles Woodson first, Peyton Manning second. If Leaf had won, it would have been a historic Heisman upset.

RYAN LEAF'S FALL

Dec 24, 2000; San Diego, CA, USA: FILE PHOTO; San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf (16) is hit by <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/pittsburgh/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Pittsburgh Steelers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Pittsburgh Steelers</a> defensive back Deshea Townsend (26) at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Former NFL and Washington State Cougars player Ryan Leaf looks on before the game against the Michigan State Spartans in the 2017 Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Former NFL and Washington State Cougars player Ryan Leaf looks on before the game against the Michigan State Spartans in the 2017 Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
 Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY Sports
Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY Sports

Many of you might already be aware of this, but Ryan Leaf — who did not handle his fame or wealth very well — got addicted to painkillers and eventually went to prison for violating probation. He hit rock bottom, serving as a cautionary tale for young athletes who pour all their energies into sports and fail to develop other life skills which equip them for a full life. Leaf’s tunnel vision left him dramatically underprepared and underdeveloped for all the off-field responsibilities of an athlete, both as an individual and as a public figure with communal obligations. Leaf didn’t know how to handle any of that, and his story is a reminder that athletes need to be coached not just on the field, but in terms of managing health, finances, relationships, working with the media, and more.

RYAN LEAF'S RECOVERY

 Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Leaf spent decades in misery, but he is on the other side of the mountain now, a man who has found sobriety, renewal, clarity, understanding, and purpose. He went to therapy. He has achieved a measure of recovery (because in a real sense, recovery is a continuous thing and something which is never fully finished). He now gives motivational speeches on his story. He has emerged from the darkness, a really great story after decades of pain.

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire