Feb 16, 2012 8:49 AM by Dennis Bragg (KPAX/KAJ Media Center)
MISSOULA- It's been 14 years since quarterback Ryan Leaf thrilled Washington State University fans by leading the Cougars to a win in the legendary Rose Bowl game. And next month, just a few weeks beyond the anniversary of that big game, Leaf will be in Missoula to sign copies of his new book.
The C.M. Russell High quarterback climbed quickly in his short football career, leading the Rustlers to the state championship in 1992. He then became a Heisman Trophy candidate at WSU and then jumping to the NFL as a first round pick for the San Diego Chargers.
But his performance was hampered by injuries and his career quickly ended after comebacks failed in Tampa Bay, Dallas and Seattle. He's also had problems with drugs and criminal charges related to drugs.
Leaf signed a deal a year ago to "set the record straight" on his experiences in a series of three books. The first, "596 Switch" came out last fall and it tells the story of Leaf's journey from the high school fields of Montana through his play as a Cougar and the Rose Bowl game.
The other books will focus on his life in the public eye and his experiences in the NFL. Publisher Crimson Oak has tasked Leaf with telling the story of his "inspirational battle with and victory over prescription pain killers and the demons of self-doubt."
Leaf said last year that the goal of the first book was "not to glorify the sport or our very special 1997 WSU team, but to put a light on the powerful stories, colorful characters and some of the shenanigans behind one of our country's most beloved weekend pastimes."
Leaf will appear at the Barnes and Noble Store on North Reserve Street in Missoula on March 24th to sign books and talk with fans from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.