Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf was expected to avoid prison time as part of a deal in which he pleaded guilty to eight felony drug charges in Texas, and today that became official, as Leaf was sentenced to 10 years of probation.
Leaf, who was joined in court by his mother, read a statement in which he acknowledged he had a drug problem.
“I convinced myself it wasn’t a big deal because these weren’t illegal drugs,” Leaf said, referring to the pain pills he pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining. “But I did have a problem. It finally hit me square in the face in West Texas; I finally had to look squarely in the mirror.”
Leaf resigned as quarterbacks coach at West Texas A&M in 2008 and later spent 42 days in rehab. He says he’s been clean for 17 months.
Leaf, who is often described as the biggest bust in draft history, spoke today about how difficult that has been for him.
“I didn’t walk away from it lightly and I think people have the wrong impression of that. It hurt me to the core that I wasn’t successful at that time,” he said. “I don’t think people understand how much it hurt for me to walk away from it.”