Thursday, May 21, 2009

A troubled Leaf

Ryan Leaf should be on ESPN sometime tonight, but, as usual, not for anything he'd be real excited about.

The troubled life of Leaf took another downward spiral Thursday when a Randall County grand jury indicted the former NFL quarterback and former West Texas A&M quarterbacks coach on drug and burglary charges.

The indictment stems from an incident in November when he resigned as a Buff assistant coach. Reports surfaced he allegedly acquired a painkiller from a WT football player. There was something up as WT officials distanced themselves from Leaf in a hurry.

Leaf, 33, has been undergoing drug rehabilitation in Canada the last few months, said James Farren, Randall County Criminal District Attorney. He said efforts were being made to convince the 1997 Heisman Trophy finalist to return to the United States on his own.

"We have not found any evidence implicating anyone other than Mr. Leaf in this case ... but believe there's additional evidence implicating him in other events," Farren said in an interview this afternoon.

The indictment was handed down Wednesday in Canyon. He was charged with one count of burglary to a habitation and six counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Farren said he anticipated additional charges would be filed later.

Leaf was the No. 2 player selected in the 1998 NFL draft after an outstanding career at Washington State. But he flopped in the NFL, leaving after the 2002 season. Many questioned his maturity and character as two reasons why.

He seemed to get a new start in coaching when Don Carthel hired him in 2006. He seemed contrite and eager to fit in. The WT gig did not seem beneath him. I found myself pulling for the guy, especially after hearing some interviews where he blamed only himself for his mistakes and was anxious to make a new start in coaching.

Now this. Quite a setback for someone who's had plenty of them.

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