Ex-WSU Star Leaf Talks to Troubled Youths


YAKIMA, Wa - Most sports fans in this area know about Ryan Leaf. The former WSU star quarterback who led the Cougars to the Rose Bowl during the 1997 season. His NFL career was less than stellar and drug problems eventually led to time in prison.

These days Ryan Leaf travels around the country as a motivational speaker and talks about his experiences and on Thursday he spoke to kids at the Juvenile Justice Center in Yakima.

He explains how regardless of your enviornment, addiction and going to prison is something that can happen to anybody based on their actions.

"The idea of or the theory that you're a product of your environment doesn't really hold water with me," Leaf said. "Because if that were the case I would never have been in a prison cell. I had loving parents, I had loving grandparents. I had people around me that supported me."

Leaf wants them to know that just because they are incarcerated right now, it doesn't mean they can't change and become better. He also talked to them about the way he was and how he is today.

"And I didn't necessarily believe that money was gonna change me, because I was raised the way I was," Leaf said. "My dad was very frugal, character driven. But, I can tell you, money changed me. I thought success was these three ideals: I thought success was money, I thought success was power, I thought success was prestige."

Today Ryan Leaf believes that success based in the three ideals of accountability, spirituality and community.

"You know what, you show me your friends and I'll show you your future, period," Leaf said.

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