IRVING, Texas -- As he watches Johnny Manziel go through some of the same issues that cost him his NFL career, Ryan Leaf reached out to the quarterback's former agent to offer help.
Leaf, whom the San Diego Chargers picked second overall -- one spot behind Peyton Manning -- in the 1998 draft, was out of the league after the 2002 season, which included three starts for the Dallas Cowboys in 2001.
Leaf spent time in prison twice in part because of a Vicodin addiction. He has been out of prison since December 2014.
"It's like a mirror, it really is," Leaf said Thursday on The Afternoon Show with Tim Cowlishaw and Matt Mosley on KESN 103.3 FM. "I listen to and hear stuff that's being said and what's going on and it's like a mirror for me. I can relate to so many things ... There's a solution. There always is but it's so hard to see when you're on this pedestal and [think] you don't need help. You don't need to be vulnerable because you're a big, strong football player and help means [being] weak. It doesn't. Asking for help might be the strongest thing you ever do. So it's hard because it was so fun to watch him. Great college quarterback. He's very capable and people want to cheer for him.
"But now Cleveland dislikes him so much to the point, like San Diego to me [where] it's at the point you just have to get out of town. By me getting out of town and getting a new start, it didn't work for me either. I got to a great place in Tampa with coach [Tony] Dungy and that team but I couldn't restart it and I'm worried that he's not going to be able to catch on somewhere else and be as successful as he's capable of being. I hope he can."