The Justice Files

I'm sure you all saw Ryan Leaf on HBO's "Real Sports" last week. As much as I hate the guy, I wasn't sure how I was going to react to the piece. Maybe the reason that he was finally allowing himself to participate in nationally-televised interview meant that he actually came to terms with what a colossal waste he was.

Of course, I never shy away from the fact that I think the Bolts had no choice but to draft him. Andre Wadsworth at #3 wouldn't have gotten us to the playoffs either. But it was the combination of Leaf's struggles on the field and the fact that he was such a fantastic douchebag that make him the undisputed biggest bust in NFL history. At least Tony Mandarich had a few good years near the end with the Colts. And he never dumped a beer on anyone while visiting his alma mater.

At first, Leaf looked sincerely hurt when he spoke of his infamy. He admitted that he was really never that good to begin with. They ran the clip of his first touchdown pass against the Bills and people forget that he also looked good the following week in Tennessee. He even showed some guts running the ball into the end zone.

But his meltdown in front of the cameras while Jay Posner was trying to interview him in Kansas City was the end of his rise. My buddy Craig, who went with me to that opener against the Bills, was quick to point out on that rainy day in Arrowhead that a great game by Natrone Means, in his second stint with the Bolts, would be wasted. I hope my mention of it will keep it from being forgotten.

The piece also ignored Leaf's 2000 season, which landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He looked good that summer until he got his chin bloodied in Oakland.

Bryant Gumbel, former star of NBC's "NFL '81," was correct in suggesting that Leaf's hissy fit in KC wouldn't have been such a problem if could have backed up his arrogance on the field.

While it was interesting to finally see that clip uncensored, the most telling segment of the piece was the interview with Bobby Beathard. He admitted that Leaf never showed any dedication and that he wouldn't listen to anyone on the Chargers staff, especially the man whose legacy became inextricably linked to his.

When Leaf said that he "had nothing to say to Bobby Beathard," immediately realized that he hadn't learn anything from his time with the Chargers.

When his name comes up every year at draft time, especially when the Bolts pick, he will continue to hurt. That's the way it should be. If Leaf wants to know why Kelly Stouffer, Timm Rosenbach, Jim Druckemiller or Tim Couch don't receive the same abuse, he can just look in the mirror. Even Todd Marinovich won't be remembered as unfondly. Leaf should just consider himself lucky they didn't show that clip of the guy singing "Lonesome Loser" to him at training camp.

Like Axl Rose, Leaf came out of hibernation for some publicity. Both of them are bloated and bitter. At least Axl can sing.


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