November 1997 Ryan Leaf is carried off the field at Husky Stadium after the Cougars beat the Huskies 41-35 to clinch the school's first...

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November 1997

Ryan Leaf is carried off the field at Husky Stadium after the Cougars beat the Huskies 41-35 to clinch the school’s first Rose Bowl appearance since 1931.

April 1998

The Chargers trade away their two first-round picks, including the No. 3 overall selection, a second-round pick, receiver Eric Metcalf and linebacker Patrick Sapp to move up to the No. 2 spot to select Leaf, who received an $11.25 million signing bonus.

November 1998

Leaf is benched as San Diego’s starter after nine games and finishes his rookie season with two touchdown passes and 15 interceptions.


Leaf misses the entire season with a shoulder injury uncovered by a preseason physical, and is suspended for four weeks after refusing to do a weight workout as part of rehabilitation.


Leaf starts the first two games of the season, has five interceptions, one touchdown pass and does not play after injuring his wrist in Week 4. San Diego releases him after the season. He won four starts in his three seasons as quarterback.

Bobby Beathard, the Chargers GM who traded for the chance to draft Leaf:

“There’s a sadness for anybody who has had chances to turn his life around and has failed to do so. On the other hand, what he did to our teammates and our organization and the Spanoses (the Spanos family owned the team) was something that I don’t think many people have much sympathy for. I personally don’t have much sympathy for him.”


Leaf is signed by Tampa Bay, then released the week before the regular season and signed by Dallas, where he played four games, including a start on Thanksgiving.

July 2002

Leaf fails to report to Seahawks training camp, informing the team of his decision to retire. He finishes his career with 36 interceptions and 14 touchdown passes.

May 2005

Leaf, who left Washington State after his junior season, receives his degree from the school.


Leaf begins his job as an assistant coach at West Texas A&M.

November 2008

Leaf resigns from West Texas A&M, and begins a 42-day stay in inpatient treatment in Vancouver, B.C.

May 2009

Leaf is indicted in Texas on nine charges.

Don Cartheny, the head coach at West Texas A&M, where Leaf worked for three seasons: “I’ve got an empty stomach, a feeling of a sadness for him and his family that they’re going through this. Anyone who knows Ryan, knows he has some great qualities, but he’s fighting with some demons.”

May 2011

A benign tumor the size of a golf ball is detected on Leaf’s brainstem and removed by a California surgeon six days later.

April 2010

Leaf receives a 10-year suspended sentence in Texas after pleading guilty to eight counts of fraudulently obtaining drugs and delivery of a controlled substance. A burglary charge against him is dropped.

March 30, 2012

Leaf is arrested in Great Falls, Mont., the culmination of a monthlong investigation by the Central Montana Drug Task Force. Leaf posts $76,000 bond.

April 2, 2012

Leaf is arrested after midnight and returned to county jail. He now faces three counts of felony drug possession, two counts of felony burglary and two counts of misdemeanor theft. He appeared via video conference before Judge Dirk Sandefur at Cascade County District Court. He remains held in county jail after the Department of Corrections placed a 72-hour no-bond hold on him, which was subsequently extended to 30 days.

Danny O’Neil