Episode 49

Ryan Leaf


About The Show

“I’m a huge proponent of decriminalization. You remove it, you take the fentanyl out of the pills that are counterfeit on the streets. You tax it, you give them information on how to get help. It’s like clean needle exchange. It’s harm reduction. We’re about harm reduction right now.”
-Ryan Leaf

Ryan Leaf is a former NFL quarterback who played for the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys. He was the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, behind Peyton Manning. Despite his promising start, Leaf’s NFL career was short-lived due to poor performance, injuries, and off-field issues. After retiring from the NFL, Leaf struggled with addiction to prescription painkillers, which led to legal troubles and a prison sentence.

In this interview, Leaf discusses his journey of transformation and recovery. While incarcerated, Leaf began helping fellow inmates who couldn’t read, which gave him a sense of purpose and helped him turn his life around. After his release, Leaf faced many challenges, including the stigma of being a former addict and a public figure with a troubled past. However, he persevered and rebuilt his life, becoming a motivational speaker and an advocate for mental health and addiction recovery. Leaf shares his experiences working with the Menninger Clinic and the NFL Brotherhood, a community he created to support former NFL players struggling with mental health and addiction issues. He emphasizes the importance of asking for help, being of service to others, and taking control of one’s own narrative.

This episode is important for anyone interested in personal growth, overcoming adversity, and leadership. Leaf’s story demonstrates that even in the darkest of times, it is possible to turn one’s life around and make a positive impact on others. His experiences highlight the importance of community, vulnerability, and perseverance in achieving success and fulfillment. Young entrepreneurs, founders, MBA students, and managers can learn valuable lessons from Leaf’s journey, including the power of resilience, the importance of seeking help when needed, and the transformative impact of serving others.

(00:00:00) Introduction of Ryan Leaf, former NFL quarterback
(00:01:28) Leaf’s addiction to prescription painkillers and criminal behavior
(00:06:21) Lack of rehabilitative programs in for-profit prisons
(00:08:17) Leaf’s transformative experience helping fellow inmates learn to read
(00:11:30) Challenges faced by Leaf after his release from prison
(00:15:44) Leaf’s financial struggles and the public’s perception of his wealth
(00:24:43) The importance of making amends and being of service to others
(00:26:41) Controlling one’s own narrative and the power of vulnerability
(00:28:12) Leaf’s work with the Menninger Clinic and the NFL Brotherhood
(00:34:14) The impact of community support in personal transformation
(00:34:40) The Last Mile program’s presence in Montana State Prison
(00:39:25) Leaf’s thoughts on criminal justice reform
(00:42:37) Conclusion and appreciation for Leaf’s participation
Episode Resources:
Ryan Leaf Instagram 
Ryan Leaf Twitter
Menninger Clinic

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