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Ryan Leaf sees himself in Manziel

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Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf told the Dan Patrick Show Friday that when he reads stories about Johnny Manziel, “I feel like I’m holding up a mirror. That’s how I behaved.”

Leaf said he didn’t develop substance abuse issues until his brief NFL career was over, but the No. 2 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft said he believes he relates to Manziel in that he didn’t understand that football could disappear so quickly.

“He says he’s fine and he’s been to treatments…when this happened, I thought it was a great thing,” Leaf said. “Imagine if I would have gone and got behavior counseling early in my career.

“You have to be out of football for a year. You have to get your stuff right because, though this is a great game and the NFL is an institution, it’s fleeting. It’s gone in a second.”

The recent news regarding Manziel, who’s expected to be cut by the Browns next month, has not been good. Manziel’s father said Friday that he’s worried for his son’s life.

Leaf told Patrick that his addiction to painkillers that led to his 2012 arrest “got bad enough that I was willing to walk into people’s homes and take their pills. The best thing that ever happened to me was being put in jail.”

After completing a chemical dependency program that was a required part of his parole, Leaf got out of prison in Dec. 2014. He’s now working for an addiction recovery company.

You can watch Leaf talking with Patrick about Manziel below.

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39 Responses to “Ryan Leaf sees himself in Manziel”
  1. thebigtuna2 says: Feb 5, 2016 3:07 PM

    So Johnny’s got that going for him…

  2. kneedragr says: Feb 5, 2016 3:07 PM

    You know you are in bad shape when taking advice from Ryan Leaf is a good idea.

  3. billswillnevermove says: Feb 5, 2016 3:08 PM

    Lesson to be learned Johnny…….Ryan Leaf gets it……….took him awhile, don’t let it slip away. Pick up the phone and talk to Leaf.

  4. jpaq68 says: Feb 5, 2016 3:09 PM

    Yeah, well so does everybody else

  5. slugbaitspace says: Feb 5, 2016 3:09 PM

    I’d hate to be the guy who said “Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s get Ryan Leaf’s opinion “.

  6. whenwilliteverend says: Feb 5, 2016 3:10 PM

    When Ryan Leaf says he sees himself in someone else you know you’re in trouble. At least Leaf has turned his life around apparently.

  7. nflpoker says: Feb 5, 2016 3:10 PM

    Looking into a mirror and seeing Manziel staring back at you would scare anyone straight.

  8. mrtullymars says: Feb 5, 2016 3:10 PM

    Good luck to Ryan Leaf. Some things are more important than football.

  9. greenbaychicksarefat says: Feb 5, 2016 3:13 PM

    Ryan Leaf: Undisputed biggest bust in NFL history.

  10. whenwilliteverend says: Feb 5, 2016 3:18 PM

    greenbaychicksarefat says:
    Feb 5, 2016 3:13 PM

    Ryan Leaf: Undisputed biggest bust in NFL history.

    I think Johnny is trying to wrest that title away from him. Say what you want about Leaf but he did manage to have two mediocre years of playing QB for the Chargers. Manziel has so far only had two years of showing he’s more interested in partying than playing football.

    I think the title of biggest bust is on the brink of switching from Leaf to Johnny Goofball.

  11. araidersfan says: Feb 5, 2016 3:20 PM

    Jerry’s team was the last NFL stop for Ryan Leaf. No reason for Jerry not to bring in Manziel as well.

    As for Manziel doing jail time, it’ll have to involve something much more serious than what Leaf ever did because (unlike Leaf) Manziel’s family has the $$$ and political ties to insulate their lowlife kid for what almost anyone else would be incarcerated for.

  12. greenbaychicksarefat says: Feb 5, 2016 3:25 PM

    I hear you whenwilliteverend, but Leaf was the #2 overall pick, Manziel was a first rounder, but somewhere in the 20’s right? The only competition Leaf has for Biggest Bust could possibly be JaGarbage Russell.

  13. 12444uggg says: Feb 5, 2016 3:26 PM

    Leafs story is compelling. There’s a lot of people who could benefit from hearing it. Look past the obvious bust label.

  14. araidersfan says: Feb 5, 2016 3:27 PM

    greenbaychicksarefat says:
    Feb 5, 2016 3:13 PM

    Ryan Leaf: Undisputed biggest bust in NFL history.


    As a Raiders fan I’d have to dispute that and say that Jamarcus Russell earned that title. If only because he was taken with the #1 overall pick and received 30 mil. + in guaranteed money. In fact JaBustus was the poster-child for adapting the current rookie salary limits.

  15. paulieorkid says: Feb 5, 2016 3:28 PM

    If this latest observation from Leaf doesn’t scare Johnny straight — nothing will.

  16. stoolerz says: Feb 5, 2016 3:28 PM

    At least Leaf had talent

  17. coltzfan166 says: Feb 5, 2016 3:29 PM

    Leaf is basically saying “Don’t be like me”

  18. coltzfan166 says: Feb 5, 2016 3:30 PM

    On the plus side, it looks like Leaf has gotten himself together and doing well

  19. granadafan says: Feb 5, 2016 3:35 PM

    Leaf runs a recovery foundation helping addicts turn their life around. I’m not saying he’s a saint by any means but don’t be too hard on the guy who is working hard day by day to stay clean and to help others struggling.

  20. istateyourname says: Feb 5, 2016 3:35 PM

    When Ryan Leaf starts calling you a Ryan Leaf you might just be a Ryan Leaf…

  21. justintuckrule says: Feb 5, 2016 3:35 PM

    Imagine what would have happened if Indy took Leaf and SD took Peyton. SD would have a 19 yr QB. SD would have never drafted Eli in 04. The Giants wouldn’t have obtained Eli or gotten 2 rings. Rivers would be somewhere else. Ben could be somewhere else. Pitt wouldn’t have won SBs. That’s one crazy domino effect. I’m glad it worked out the way it did as a Gmen fan though. Thanks irsay.

  22. keepingitlogical says: Feb 5, 2016 3:36 PM

    Feel sorry for anyone that gets hooked on pills. Big Pharma, the largest and most dangerous drug dealers in the history of man.

  23. bullcharger says: Feb 5, 2016 3:41 PM

    Leaf looks good! Good to see that he is doing well.

  24. theleafsblow says: Feb 5, 2016 3:41 PM

    But he does that “money fingers” thing… That’s super cool… Right?

  25. securb2013 says: Feb 5, 2016 3:43 PM

    Ryan Leaf telling you, you need to get you life in order is like Chris Christie telling you, you might need to lose a couple of pounds.

  26. *Legion* says: Feb 5, 2016 3:45 PM

    >> Ryan Leaf: Undisputed biggest bust in NFL history.

    > I think Johnny is trying to wrest that title away from him.

    Johnny won’t ever hold the title simply because he was a #22 overall pick, not a #1 like JaMarcus or a #2 like Leaf.

    I mean, R. Jay Soward was more useless and a more immediate washout than any of these three guys, but he was a #29 overall pick. The stakes are just a lot lower that far down the draft board.

    Arguably, Justin Blackmon at his #5 overall pick spot is a bigger bust than Manziel.

  27. realfootballfan says: Feb 5, 2016 3:45 PM

    Of course, everyone should have, including those great pundits. But they were too busy calling Teddy Bridgewater too skinny and saying Jameis Winston was the next Jamarcus Russell or Vince Young. You know, players who had nothing in common with each other. But the guy who had a background down to the tee to someone similar from the past including playing well in big games, none of them ever printed the comparison once. I wonder why. Things that make you go hmmm.

  28. mogogo1 says: Feb 5, 2016 3:48 PM

    “he relates to Manziel in that he didn’t understand that football could disappear so quickly”
    I am sure that is 100% spot-on. Guaranteed Manziel is thinking it’s all going to be good because some team(s) is going to bring him in and he’ll wow them and it will be like college all over again. He probably doesn’t even see anything being all that amiss right now since he was waiting to get free of the Browns all along.

  29. mmack66 says: Feb 5, 2016 3:50 PM

    The difference is that Manziel is oil rich, and playing football is like a hobby to him.

    On a side note, I remember when Ryan Leaf cried after an abysmal performance in a Chiefs game.

  30. buckyhamm says: Feb 5, 2016 3:52 PM

    Sounds like Leaf finally has his head on straight.

  31. catfish252 says: Feb 5, 2016 3:52 PM

    Glad to hear you are headed in the right direction Ryan. Hopefully Johnny Manziel will get ‘it’ before it is too late.

  32. jayhawk6 says: Feb 5, 2016 3:55 PM

    This will probably be Roger Goodell’s version of “Scared Straight”.

  33. beach305 says: Feb 5, 2016 4:18 PM

    Fans expect these guys to be robots and perfect, but the fact is that they are not perfect.

  34. tformation says: Feb 5, 2016 4:22 PM

    When I heard about Manziel’s agent ditching him, my first thought this morning was “Man, this is Ryan Leaf territory.”

    Potentially worse than Leaf territory, really. Leaf never hit his girlfriend, and kept getting offers to play backup roles for different teams… the latter sounds like that’s drying up quickly… and expect it to end suddenly if there’s any video of Manziel beating his girlfriend…

    Get help, John. Be a man, and get yourself the help you need.

  35. cardinalsfan20 says: Feb 5, 2016 4:33 PM

    This was an excellent interview. Ryan sounded great.

  36. whodey420 says: Feb 5, 2016 4:49 PM

    That’s not a good sign. Manziel better wake up and
    quick. It’s a shame on both parts. Leaf was the
    prototypical QB with size and arm strength. Manziel
    has neither of those traits going for him. :/

  37. rayguyhof says: Feb 5, 2016 8:33 PM

    I guess hell just froze over. I agreed with something Leaf had to say.

  38. skawh says: Feb 5, 2016 9:09 PM

    the “biggest bust” talk from those who’ve never been in the NFL is the biggest laugh!

    The man had issues. Newsflash. You’re not perfect either. Stop expecting others to be what you aren’t.

  39. Seprix says: Feb 6, 2016 11:46 AM

    Ryan Leaf has a couple of close contenders for biggest bust so far.
    We have Clowney, who has barely played at all and has no drive. A modern Haynesworth. But at least Hanyesworth played through his first contract before giving up. Clowney hasn’t even tried yet.
    Then we have RG3, but he actually got to the playoffs the first year, you can’t take that away from him.
    There’s Russell, who is probably the closest to Leaf.
    And then there’s Manziel. Did anyone think Manziel was going to be any good? Can you be a bust if everyone thought you were going to suck the whole time?

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