So here’s a weird thing that most people can’t say. I am one of the few people to say that I have played (in high school) a former first round pick and then went to college with another one. Up in the Northwest I had the joy of taking a trip and sitting around the sidelines as our school played CMR and their stellar QB Ryan Leaf up in Great Falls, Montana.
I didn’t know at the time what would become of Ryan Leaf but he was a popular guy who put up big numbers. Soon the school came courting and next thing you know he’s in the Pac-10 at Washington State.
Even though I didn’t play football by college, I eventually ended up at the University of Tennessee where that tall lanky geek named Peyton Manning strolled around campus. And if you saw him flying at you in his jeep it was highly recommended you seek shelter.
So then after getting into the whole Peyton Manning thing while I was down there I can saw he was a cool and friendly and with rumors of the NFL Draft and Heisman Trophy coming up the competition heated up between the two highest prospects in the NCAA.
No Heisman for either of the boys as Charles Woodson from Michigan stunned Vols and Cougar fans with the selection. And then in the draft there was a time when critics debated both players. Some had Leaf #1, some had Manning #1. In the end the Colts went with Manning kid and San Diego traded away a ton to move up and grab Leaf.
And with that the comparison of the two can end. Leaf struggled on and off the the field. Brief spurts of winning or playing like a franchise QB popped up for Leaf but his usual day was riddled with disappointment. He then clashed with the media and his teammates in the locker room which led to some memorable moments.
Eventually, Manning went on to help build a Super Bowl team and Leaf drifted out of the NFL. One on side of the coin you have the best QB of modern football. One the other, you have the biggest draft bust in decades.
[via Great Falls Tribune] Ryan Leaf, who has spent much of his life in the glamour of success or the glare of shame, was arrested in his hometown of Great Falls Friday afternoon on burglary, theft and drug charges.
Leaf, the former Washington State star and NFL quarterback, became famous for a football career that reached dizzying heights. The 35-year-old also has become infamous because of a string of missteps that include several arrests, including Friday when Great Falls Police apprehended him at the local parole office.
Leaf is serving a 10-year suspended sentence that he received out of Texas in April 2010 after pleading guilty to drug-related charges.