Before he became one of the most notorious busts in NFL draft history, Ryan Leaf was a star at Washington State. Leaf passed for 3,968 yards and 34 touchdowns as a junior in 1997. He led his Cougars to a 10-1 regular season, including a win over Washington in the Apple Cup, before the team lost to No. 1 Michigan in the Rose Bowl to fall to 10-2.
Leaf then left for the NFL and became the No. 2 overall draft pick by the Chargers in 1998. He lasted just three years in the pros before flaming out. He later had substance abuse issues and multiple legal issues, including several arrests and time spent in prison. Now he’s trying to be a public speaker, encouraging sobriety by telling others to avoid the kinds of issues he has had.
Leaf even spoke to the rival Washington Huskies football team. Huskies head coach Jimmy Lake shared a tweet that also included a photo of Leaf wearing a Huskies shirt.
— Jimmy Lake (@CoachLakeUDUB) August 17, 2021
Leaf said he was appreciative of the opportunity to speak to the team, even if it meant having to wear a shirt for his rivals.
Thanks Coach for the opportunity to be of service. When we care about and are responsible for each other’s well being it doesn’t even matter if you have to power thru wearing purple for an hour!! See ya at the Apple Cup. #GoCougs https://t.co/8y7VUElQkB
— Ryan D Leaf (@RyanDLeaf) August 17, 2021
Leaf will always be a Cougar, but sometimes circumstances call for one to wear the colors of a rival.