Ryan Leaf turns columnist for Cougfan.com

RYAN LEAF, ARGUABLY the greatest of the great WSU quarterbacks, is coming to CF.C. Starting this week, the one-time Heisman Trophy finalist will be writing a periodic column for Coug fans. "My goal is to give readers insights and opinions -- into the game generally and the Cougs specifically -- that fuels their interest in this game and this team that we all love so much," Leaf said this week.

Leaf said he wants to do for Cougar football fans what Daven Harmeling has done over the last year with Cougar basketball fans in his column.

"Sometimes the story behind the story is the most interesting piece of the puzzle," Leaf said from his home in Great Falls, Mont. "Daven really captures that in his column for Cougfan. I think my background in football, plus my trials and tribulations on and off the field, give me a unique perspective from which to write and offer insights. I hope fans enjoy what I do."

Leaf's first column will run this Thursday or Friday.

"It's exciting as hell to have Ryan in the fold," said CF.C managing editor Barry Bolton. "Just talking with him for a few minutes about a particular game or play or series is fascinating because he brings so much understanding and experience with him. I think our readers are really going to love his work and I know they're going to learn a whole lot."

One thing you won't find in his columns will be harsh criticism of players. "I'll offer up some constructive thoughts when I think it's appropriate but the one thing I will never do is bash a 19- or 20-year-old kid. These guys are working hard at football while trying to earn a degree and the fact is they're very young. Some of the players who will be on the field this week for the Cougs are just a few months removed from their senior prom. They're kids."

In 1997, Leaf guided the Cougars to their first Pac-10 championship since Mel Hein and Turk Edwards were roaming the Palouse. Along the way he shattered records and generated national acclaim for himself and his team. In the Rose Bowl against Michigan, a wildly controversial ending centered around the game clock is still talked about as among the most mind-numbing conclusions ever to a college football game. The Wolverines ended up with the national championship.

In the last two years Leaf has been in the news for an addiction to prescription painkillers that stemmed from a wrist injury. Today, he's been painkiller-free for nearly two years and talks freely about the addiction and how important it is for people to seek help. By asking for help, and then working hard to overcome the addiction, he said he feels like he has a new lease on life. For more on Leaf and his ongoing victory, click to these recent CF.C stories:


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