If there is such a thing as rock bottom, Ryan Leaf has hit it, and subsequently busted through.
The former WSU legend was arrested again Monday in Montana, only two days after posting bail on similar charges that he broke into a home and stole prescription drugs.
As a lifelong Cougar football fan, the anomaly that is Leaf has always been bittersweet and confusing.
After all, this is the same man that I idolized as an eight-year-old coming to Martin Stadium to watch Cougar football games with my old man.
He’s the guy who brought the Coug’s their first Pac-10 championship in school history while helping end a 67-year Rose Bowl drought.
Leaf basically put WSU football on the map.
But with all the great things he has done for Washington State, he has brought the university even more shame and embarrassment.
After being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1998 draft behind Peyton Manning, Leaf’s football career quickly spiraled out of control.
Even though many NFL general managers regarded Leaf as highly as Manning at the time, he struggled mightily with maturity issues that carried over from his days on the Palouse.
His lasting NFL image was an obscenity-laced tirade directed at a local cameraman in the locker room after a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, in which Leaf went a miserable 1-for-15 with four yards passing, three fumbles and two interceptions.
After being cut by the San Diego Chargers in 2001, Leaf bounced around to a couple of teams before officially retiring in 2002, solidifying his spot as one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
After his retirement it seemed as if Leaf had come to terms with his failures as an NFL quarterback and was ready to move on with his life.
He was hired to be the quarterback coach at West Texas A&M in 2007 where he enjoyed early success, helping the team lead all Division II in passing offense in his first season coaching, according to NBCsports.com
The feel good story was short lived as Leaf was forced to resign before the 2008 season amid police investigation, which revealed he had illegally obtained prescription painkillers.
The Ryan Leaf saga had officially become a national punch line and was embarrassing to anyone who ever donned the crimson and gray.
Initially this devastating decline of one of my childhood heroes filled me with anger and resentment, but after his latest string of arrests I can't help but feel complete sorrow for Leaf.
In no way do I condone his actions, they are utterly despicable and he deserves to be punished accordingly, but obviously this is a man who desperately needs help.
Leaf’s situation is dire, and his addiction has completely taken over every aspect of his life. Anybody who has struggled with addiction or has had a loved one battle this disease knows that it is no joke.
So instead of casting stones at Leaf, I pray that people show a little compassion. Maybe his latest arrest will finally get him the help he needs.
I just hope that someday he will be given an opportunity to turn a new leaf and become an inspiring story that Coug’s across the nation can be proud of again.