“Just don’t f—ing talk to me, all right!” Those words, screamed by Ryan Leaf at a reporter in the San Diego Chargers locker room in 1998, and fully captured by a television camera, nicely summed up Leaf’s brief career. He was spoiled, petulant, and prone to very public meltdowns. What’s worse, he couldn’t play a lick. In the third game of his career, Leaf delivered one of the all-time worst quarterback performances, completing one of fifteen passes for 4 yards and fumbling three times in a loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. Over three disastrous seasons, Leaf threw 14 touchdown passes and 36 interceptions. And to think, some football talent evaluators actually thought the Indianapolis Colts blew it by drafting Peyton Manning ahead of Leaf with the first pick in the ’98 draft (the Chargers picked Leaf second).
In 2006, Leaf joined the coaching staff at West Texas A&M and also became the school’s golf coach. Reporters flocked to Texas to file the requisite “Ryan Leaf has found peace” stories. But last fall, after acknowledging that he asked a player for a pill to help alleviate wrist pain, Leaf resigned from both positions.
Next Charles Rogers, 2003