Fourteen years ago, Ryan Leaf was riding high.
Selected by the San Diego Chargers with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft, Leaf signed a four-year, $31.25 million contract including a $11.25 million signing bonus.
That day in June, Leaf said, “I’m looking forward to a 15-year career, a couple of trips to the Super Bowl and a parade through downtown San Diego.”
So much for that. Leaf bailed on the Seattle Seahawks in 2002, ending his career after four ignominious years, earning ridicule as one of the biggest busts in NFL draft history. But as it’s turned out, busts have been just as big a part of Leaf’s post-NFL life.
Leaf, 35, was arrested on Monday and is facing burglary charges just two days after he posted bail for another set of burglary charges.
Leaf was arrested Friday on charges of breaking into a friend’s house and stealing prescription painkillers. A search of his pickup truck produced 28 oxycodone pills, for which Leaf does not have a prescription, and the name on the bottle belonged to the acquaintance who claimed Leaf had broken into his home one day prior.
“It’s based on a burglary that happened yesterday afternoon after he bailed out,” Central Montana Drug Task Force Commander Chris Hickman told the Associated Press Monday following Leaf’s most recent arrest.
Leaf is being held in the Cascade County Detention Center and faces new charges of burglary, theft and two counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Bond was set at $101,000, but Leaf also violated his probation, meaning he cannot be released from jail, Hickman said.
The owners of a Great Falls home walked into their home Sunday afternoon to find “a tall man with an athletic build” inside, Hickman said. The man told the owners he had the wrong house and left. They later discovered three bottles of prescription medication missing and called the police.
This time, a search of Leaf’s truck turned up 89 hydrocodone pills — but those are not believed to be the pills taken from the Great Falls home. Police are now seeking a warrant for the GPS in Leaf’s truck to see if he may be responsible for other reported burglaries in the area.
A Montana native, Leaf had surgery to remove a benign brain stem tumor last year, and underwent radiation treatments.
On Friday, he released a statement through his publicist saying that he has “made some mistakes and have no excuses” but is “confident that there will be further understanding when the facts are revealed.”
Leaf finished his NFL career with 3,666 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions in 21 starts — which are all considerably less than the career numbers of the guy selected just ahead of him in the 1998 draft: Peyton Manning.