All-time NFL Draft Bust, Former QB Ryan Leaf lives with his Parents

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Whenever someone feels the need to bash a blogger, you know what refrain eventually comes- “probably lives in Mom’s basement.” Like Chris Rock said about racist epithets, “that train’s never late!”

But you won’t likely hear it from Ryan Leaf, the #2 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, and a man who rivals USC/Arizona’s Matt Leinart and LSU/Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell for the dubious distinction of biggest waste of talent and potential at the quarterback position in NFL history.

You’ll remember Leaf’s greatest misses: the 1-15, 4 yards passing, 2 INT, 3 lost fumbles start at Kansas City, the childish fits of anger directed at fans and journalists (his San Diego teammates nicknamed him “Baby Boy”), the epic failure that was his NFL career, his foray into coaching that ended with his resigning due to his stealing of pain pills, the painkiller addiction on parallel with Luke Cafferty from “Friday Night Lights,” and finally his legal probation.

And now he’s come home to live with his parents in Montana, and start life over. So yes, Ryan Leaf is now officially the same guy as the biggest jock in your high school graduating class.

By Paul M. Banks

According to Betsy Blaney’s AP story

Ryan Leaf is up early each day and often out the door before his parents get up. He wants to stay busy, see people if he can. It’s a routine he needs.

Life hasn’t turned out the way Leaf expected.

He struggled with fame. That led to infamy. He struggled with drugs. That led to shame.

About a decade ago, the ex-quarterback was among the biggest stories in the NFL. When he was drafted in 1998, the debate was over whether he or Peyton Manning should be the No. 1 pick.

Then he turned into one of the biggest busts in league history. He was booed and benched in San Diego, where he lost 14 of his first 18 starts. He lashed out at fans, journalists and teammates who criticized him. And in the years after he washed out of football, his life got worse – ending in a criminal conviction.

But here’s the thing: Leaf gets it that he fell short, how he disappointed, and how he rubbed people the wrong way with his arrogance. And now in the relative calm of his Montana hometown, under the eyes of his parents, he’s trying to mount a comeback at the age of 34, nine years after his last NFL pass.

It’s not about a return to football. It’s about being accepted, about a return to normalcy.

“I would like to be able to walk into a room … introduce myself and be the person I am now and have people make their judgments from that,” Leaf says. “That’s all I can do.”

Read the whole thing here

Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru

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