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.