http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/football/story/2012-03-07/Peyton-Manning-Colts-Ryan-Leaf/53400044/1

Ryan Leaf's Fall from Grace

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http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/story/2012-04-02/ryan-leaf-arrest-montana/53958116/1

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/story/2012-04-02/ryan-leaf-arrest-montana/53958116/1

As the Denver Broncos prepare for Super Bowl XLVIII, QB Peyton Manning seems to be brought up as apart of a new “tell all” book by Leigh Steinberg about manipulation of the 1998 NFL Draft where Manning and former QB Chargers QB Ryan Leaf were the talk of the 1998 Draft. News from (http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/01/how-ryan-leaf-convinced-the-colts-to-draft-peyton-manning/)

In Steinberg’s book, “The Agent” Steinberg details the steps Leaf took to manipulate the Colts into taking Manning with the first overall pick by purposely skipping a management meeting with Colts management.

Quote from the book, Steinberg gives a detailed conversation with Leaf.

“No way do I want to play in Indianapolis,” Leaf told me, referring to the Colts, who owned the No. 1 pick. Instead, because of the exceptional weather and the more laid-back lifestyle, he preferred the San Diego Chargers, who would go second.”

Steinberg replies, “That’s fine,” I warned him, “but the way to achieve this is not exactly going to help your image. You’ll get a lot of criticism.” Ryan didn’t care about his image, though, only his destination.

Former Chargers GM Bobby Beathard on Mike and Mike in the morning said that his memory is not that good but he didn’t recall the incident but did go on the record stating that the drafting of Leaf was one of the “biggest mistakes” he ever made. Former Colts GM Bill Polian also on Mike and Mike said “Finally the truth has come out.”

It is no secret that Polian has a “love/hate” relationship for agents but for such a respected person in the NFL such as Polian to openly admit this … the merit of the Steinberg’s claims in The Agent.

So WHY bring up Peyton Manning now? Well that comes back to Steinberg’s book and the 1998 NFL Draft.

Manning (University of Tennessee) and Leaf (Washington State) were the two QBs coming out of the 1998 draft and BOTH of them were being talked about as the next great QBs.  Their discussions were linked together like Elway and Montana.  The projections were back and forth all the way to draft day but in 2014, the legacies on these two QBs are completely polar opposites.

While Manning continues to define his hall of fame NFL career and prepare for his third Super Bowl appearance, Ryan Leaf has been kicked out of a drug rehab facility and sent to prison on a five year sentence on charges of criminal drug possession (Information from http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/ryan-leaf-kicked-out-of-drug-treatment-center-sent-to/article_248479f2-e5e0-58e6-af06-22ccd06aabb2.html)

So lets review. Ryan Leaf was suppose to be the “John Elway” to Peyton Manning’s “Joe Montana?”

Truly there is a difference between Manning and Leaf. Manning is becoming one of, if not the greatest QB of all time while Leaf’s football career has been a curse carried by the Chargers franchise for almost two decades and now has fallen from grace and sits in prison in Montana.

Talk about polar opposites since 1998 NFL draft … huh.

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Tags: Bill Polian Bobby Beathard Leigh Steinberg Peyton Manning Ryan Leaf

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