The Texas prosecutor who brokered a 10-year probationary sentence for Ryan Leaf — a former Washington State and NFL quarterback — said he is working on a plea deal that would allow the Montana native to serve his sentence in his home state. A Texas judge would have to approve the deal.
LUBBOCK, Texas — The Texas prosecutor who brokered a 10-year probationary sentence for Ryan Leaf — a former Washington State and NFL quarterback — said Tuesday he is working on a plea deal that would allow the Montana native to serve his sentence in his home state.
Randall County District Attorney James Farren said he will seek a seven-year sentence against Leaf for violating terms of his probation when he was arrested for drug possession in Montana last year. A Texas judge would have to approve the deal.
“He would never have to come back here, which would be fine with me,” said Farren, adding the deal would save the state money for travel to and from Montana and the cost to house the 36-year-old Leaf in a Texas prison.
Leaf played in 25 NFL games after being taken No. 2 in the 1998 draft — behind Peyton Manning — by the San Diego Chargers. He played for the Chargers and Dallas and finished his career with 14 touchdown passes and 36 passes that were picked off.
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In late 2008, Leaf resigned from West Texas A&M after coaching quarterbacks for three seasons. He later said he was introduced to heavy-duty painkillers after surgeries on his shoulders, knees and wrists, and he realized he was addicted in March 2008. He was accused of presenting an incomplete medical history to physicians in 2008 in his quest to get the painkiller Hydrocodone, and of forcing his way into an apartment to steal the drug that had been prescribed to an injured football player.
Leaf got probation after pleading guilty to eight felony drug charges in 2010. But after moving back to his home state, he is in a Montana prison after being kicked out of a drug-treatment program. He pleaded guilty in May to burglary and drug possession.
Farren said the Texas sentence and one Leaf is serving in Montana would run concurrently.
“It may be a deal-breaker if it’s more than Montana’s (sentence),” Farren said. “That’s our position at this point. I’m not going to agree to less than seven.”
Leaf will remain in the Montana prison until at least June 30, when he becomes eligible for parole.