Ryan Leaf hears the stories about Johnny Manziel and he can relate. He’s been there, a big-time college quarterback drafted in the first round but unable to get it together on and off the field.
“It feels like I’m holding up a mirror,” Leaf said Friday of Manziel on “The Dan Patrick Show.”
“When I hear some stories come out, I go, ‘Oh my God, I did that!’ That’s how I behaved.”
Manziel’s ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, accused the Cleveland Browns quarterback of striking her several times last weekend.
Manziel has denied assaulting Crowley, and the Fort Worth and Dallas police departments have closed their investigations of the alleged incident without arresting Manziel on suspicion of committing any crimes. The NFL has opened its own investigation.
Manziel has had a tumultuous two seasons with the Browns, who have indicated they plan to release the quarterback when they can make roster moves in March.
Leaf was drafted second overall by the San Diego Chargers in 1998. He played parts of three seasons with San Diego before he was released at the end of the 2000 season. He failed to make the cut the following preseason with Tampa Bay and Dallas.
He said his poor play wasn’t because of substance abuse and admitted that he could have used behavioral counseling like that sought by Manziel.
“When this happened last year, I thought that was the greatest thing,” Leaf said of Manziel seeking treatment. “Imagine if I would have done that, just to go get behavioral counseling when I was in my second year when things were falling off the rails.
“Sometimes things just start to spiral. You have to be out of football for a year ... to get your stuff right.”