If you remember Ryan Leaf and have followed his post-WSU career with interest -- as he traveled from self-implosion to self-implosion -- you simply must read this story.
It is the most wide-ranging interview I've seen with Leaf since he left WSU, and perhaps ever. He's an intensely personal and guarded person (he was that way even at WSU), and the way he opens up with this writer is nothing less than shocking to me.
I've got as many stories of Leaf treating me badly as anyone, having covered that 1997 Rose Bowl team as Editor in Chief of The Evergreen -- if we ever have a CougCenter function where we all get together and have a beer, I'll tell you some -- but I've always considered him a hurting person with extreme insecurities that cause him to lash out. I've always deeply hoped he'd be able to get his life on track, and was heartbroken when I heard about the drug charges.
But in reading this story, he truly sounds like he's starting to get things figured out. I don't know Leaf on a personal level, but I spent enough time around him to know when he had B.S. machine working, and I detect none of it here. The story is full of honest reflection and transparency, such as this:
"I was so young and so egotistical, it was like, 'They're supposed to worship me,' " he said. "It wasn't real. It was this illusion. I can't imagine being around me and what it would've been like."
It wasn't good, Ryan. But the fact that you're asking that question tells me all I need to know.
Let's just hope the Texas district attorneys who are working on his case down there do what's in the best interest of helping Leaf get his life in order, because that's what's really important here -- not making some example out of someone they consider a celebrity.
H/T to Vince Grippi for passing along the link at SportsLink.