Montana News

Dec 21, 2010 8:33 AM by Dennis Bragg (KPAX/KAJ Media Center)

Ryan Leaf to write books about his sports rise and fall

A decade after his highly-anticipated NFL career flamed out, former football star Ryan Leaf is promising to tell his own story in three new books.

Washington-based publisher Crimson Oak announced Monday Leaf had signed a deal to write the books to "set the record straight", according to a company press release.

Leaf came to prominence when he led C.M. Russell High School to a Montana state championship in 1992. He then went on to star for the Washington State Cougars, helping WSU win its first ever Rose Bowl, becoming a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

He was a first round draft pick for the San Diego Chargers in 1998, 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.

But in the new books, Crimson Oak is asking Leaf to focus on his "inspirational battle with and victory over prescription pain killers and the demons of self-doubt that have haunted him since his once-promising
pro career came undone at age 26."

Another book will tell of his life in the public eye, from growing up in Montana to trying to be an NFL star.

Leaf says the first book, due out next fall, will cover four years during his time playing in Pullman.

"The aim is 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 said.

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