Ryan Leaf is taking another step in an impressive comeback story.
The former No. 2 overall pick, who has battled addiction and spent time in prison, has been hired by ESPN as a college football analyst.
“Ryan has experienced the highs and lows in the game of football, putting him in a position to relate to a wide range of situations players can find themselves in,” said Lee Fitting, ESPN’s senior vice president of production. “He will be able to rely on those experiences — including an unbelievable college career where he was an All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist — in his analysis, making him a tremendous asset for our team.”
Leaf will work with play-by-play announcer Clay Matvick and will call games mostly on ESPN2 and ESPNU. He has worked for the Pac-12 Network, and co-hosted a show on SiriusXM’s Pack-12 channel, as he has begun to develop his broadcasting career.
He’s clearly grateful for the opportunity, as evidenced by his social media post last night.
“Five years ago, sitting in a prison cell, I would have never imagined that I was going to be part of ESPN and the Disney Corporation,” Leaf told the Associated Press. “If you would have told me that, I would have said you are absolutely crazy. And I can’t believe it. I lay my head down every night with a ton of gratitude.”
His story has been a fascinating one, and now he gets a chance to help others tell theirs.