Ben Strauss, The Washington Post
- ARCHIVE: in this file photo of October 13, 2011, former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf talks about his first book, "596 Switch", in Pullman, Washington. ESPN hired Leaf to be a college football badyst, another step. in the remarkable return of the former Washington State star who fought drug addiction and served a prison sentence. (Dean Hare / The Moscow-Pullman Daily News through AP, archive) lessARCHIVE: in this file photo of October 13, 2011, former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf talks about his first book, "596 Switch", in Pullman, Washington. ESPN has hired Leaf to be a college football badyst. . Plus
Photo: Dean Hare, AP
Photo: Dean Hare, AP
ESPN hires Ryan Leaf as a college football badyst
ESPN has hired Ryan Leaf, the former field marshal who fought in the NFL and fought personal problems, including a drug addiction that led to a prison sentence, to summon college football matches and to host the study in the network.
According to The Associated Press, which reported on the hiring of Leaf, Leaf will convene games along with play-by-play announcer Clay Matvick.
Leaf was famous for being drafted in second place by the San Diego Chargers after Peyton Manning went to the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, but had many problems during his career in the NFL. He fell on hard times after his soccer career failed after five seasons in the league and was often considered one of the biggest draft shots in NFL history.
After his NFL career, Leaf struggled with an addiction to prescription pain medications and was arrested in 2012 for breaking into a home in his hometown of Great Falls, Montana, and stealing painkillers. He served almost three years in prison, where he began his path to recovery.
That path began when he met a veteran who was a fellow prisoner, who encouraged him to help teach other prisoners to read. Leaf served 32 months in prison, and when he was released he traveled throughout the country, speaking on issues of substance abuse.
Leaf, 43, worked most recently for the Pac-12 network and presented a radio show on SiriusXM's Pac-12 station. The former Washington State quarterback finished third in the Heisman Trophy vote in 1997.