Ryan Leaf hired by ESPN as college football analyst

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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.

17 responses to “Ryan Leaf hired by ESPN as college football analyst

  1. Good for him. Glad he appears to have turned his life around. It sure looked he was headed for an ugly ending. As the saying goes, You’re not a failure no matter how many times you fall, until you refuse to get up.

  2. i sure hope he keep himself on the right track…being on the road and left to your own devises can be quite the undertaking. pulling for him

  3. Stories of redemption, of lives put back on track, are uplifting and instructive. Good luck in your new endeavor, Mr. Leaf.

  4. I hope it works out. Yeah… he made some bad (dumb) choices in life but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be able to turn it around.

  5. Good for him. They’re right. There is outstanding football knowledge and experience to share, and he should make a great addition to their team.

  6. How will he react when a player blows up at him for asking the same questions over and over?

  7. @kcflake “How bad of a person does one have to be to not be hired?”

    There is a lot wrong with American society. One thing we can still be proud of is that we believe in second chances.

    A christian philosophy is to forgive as God forgives. Regardless of religion I believe it is a good philosophy. We fall down. We look at what we’ve done and acknowledge why it is wrong. We make efforts to redeem ourselves and are given the opportunity to start again. Some consequences will linger but forgiveness is offered. Leaf is human above anything else.

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