Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN college football analyst Ryan Leaf has been arrested on a charge of misdemeanor domestic battery. The arrest took place on Friday at around 2:00 p.m. in Palm Desert, California.
Leaf was then released that evening on $5,000 bail and now awaits a court date on September 25.
Leaf’s professional and personal saga since he was selected second overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers has been a troubled one. While the pre-draft hype had many considering him a better option than Peyton Manning, Leaf’s career fizzled out in four years as he only spent two seasons with the Chargers, followed by a brief stint with the Dallas Cowboys, and a cup of coffee in the Seattle Seahawks training camp before retiring. While the poor quarterback play was his downfall, Leaf also developed a reputation as a complainer and bad teammate.
Leaf’s life took an even more tumultuous turn after his NFL career due to issues with substance abuse (which led to several burglary attempts to get prescription drugs and eventually saw him spending 32 months incarcerated, first in an addiction-treatment facility and then in jail).
Leaf eventually got things back on track after his release, working as a motivational speaker as well as a Program Ambassador for Transcend Recovery Community after getting sober. He also penned an article in The Players Tribune titled “Letter To My Younger Self” in which he talked about what happened in his NFL career and life since.
He then seemed to set about getting into broadcasting, first working for the Pac-12 Network in 2018, and hosting the Pac-12 This Morning show on Sirius XM’s Pac-12 channel. All of which led to ESPN hiring Leaf in 2019 as a college football game analyst. At the time, Leaf was outwardly grateful and appreciative of the opportunity, which also ended up including an opportunity to appear on “NFL Live” on occasion.
Thank you to everyone who supported me along this journey. Ton of gratitude in the Leaf household tonight. Thanks to @espn for giving a flawed human being a chance to be better today. #soberlife #cfb #letsgettowork pic.twitter.com/gsGC3x6W9A
— Ryan D Leaf (@RyanDLeaf) July 15, 2019
We don’t yet know the details behind the arrest, nor do we know if Leaf will still have a role at ESPN waiting for him when the college football season returns. Regardless, it’s a sad reminder that the substance abuse recovery process never truly ends.