Ryan Leaf could spend the rest of his life outside of the public eye and he’d still have a tough reputation to live down. Recent news that the former Charger was arrested in Montana for burglary and drug possession only adds an incredibly depressing layer to the story. Leaf was arrested at a home in Montana at some point Friday, and was quoted as saying “I’ve made some mistakes, and have no excuses. I am using the tools I’ve learned to move forward rather than backwards, and will be open to talking about the details in the days to come.”
Hard to believe, but his post-NFL life seems even rockier than his three terrible seasons as an NFL player. His addiction to pain killers has been well documented. it would be premature to blame the unforgiving public eye on his current predicament, but Leaf is human, after all. If you mess up on a stage that big, turning to drugs for emotional support doesn’t seem that far-fetched. People get high for much simpler reasons every day, and considering his name will forever be associated with disappointment, Leaf’s story could be a tragic portrait of the harm that the 24-hour sports cycle has on a man’s psyche. Here’s hoping he finds a way to turn things around.