On Friday, former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf was arrested in Palm Desert, California on charges of misdemeanor domestic battery. Leaf, who is considered by many to be one of the biggest draft busts in the history of the NFL, was released on bail later that night, per a report by ESPN.
Citing online jail records, ESPN reported that Leaf, 44, was taken into custody at around 2 p.m. and later booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. His next court date is reportedly set for September 25.
Leaf, who was hired by ESPN as an analyst ahead of the 2019/20 college football season, previously played in parts of three seasons for the San Diego Chargers and the Dallas Cowboys during the late ’90s and early 2000s. He was drafted by the Chargers with the second pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, just after the Indianapolis Colts selected future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning No. 1 overall.
Although he was pegged as a potential franchise QB akin to Manning following a stellar junior season with the Washington State Cougars in 1997 — a performance that ultimately made him a Heisman Trophy finalist — Leaf never found his feet as a professional QB.
His rookie season was marred by poor play on the field — he completed just 45 percent of his passes in year one and threw just two touchdown passes and 15 interceptions — as well as bad behavior off of it. Leaf famously clashed with teammates and coaches and verbally abused members of the media.
Leaf’s professional career continued to disappoint until he abruptly retired in 2002 at the age of just 26.
As reported by TMZ, substance abuse problems and legal issues have plagued Leaf throughout his life. He was previously arrested on burglary and drug charges in his hometown of Great Falls, Montana in 2012. As a result, he would eventually find himself in a lockdown addiction treatment facility before being remanded to the Montana State Prison.
More recently, Leaf had worked to turn his life around, acting as a program ambassador for an organization that runs sober houses across the U.S. On March 5, Leaf tweeted about his road to recovery, newfound sober life and ESPN job.
How’s this for a story…2nd Pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. Crash & Burn so bad many consider the biggest draft bust ever, goes to prison, chooses to get back up and carry on. 6 years later, employed by @espn living the dream and cohosting #nfllive for the 1st time today! #soberlife pic.twitter.com/SwjxdqzOzJ
— Ryan D Leaf (@RyanDLeaf) March 5, 2020
As reported previously by The Inquisitr, Leaf isn’t the only football star currently facing charges. Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver was arrested for driving while intoxicated and illegally carrying a weapon In Houston, Texas earlier this month and is facing possible suspension.