Tony Castricone uses his platform as voice of the Washington Huskies to talk interesting people into having interesting conversations with the hopes of entertaining college sports fans, or enriching their lives.
Ryan Leaf was a phenomenal college football quarterback at Washington State, and in 1997, he was a Heisman Trophy finalist and led the Cougars to their first Rose Bowl trip in 67 years.
He decided to leave school early to pursue the NFL, where he was the #2 overall player drafted, received a huge contract... and played really poorly for most of his short time in the league.
He had bad relationships with teammates and reporters, and eventually developed an addiction to painkillers. He was arrested for burglary multiple times trying to find painkillers while he was dealing with withdrawals, and even attempted taking his own life.
Fortunately, after multiple years in jail, he got out and got the help he needed. And now, he finds himself with a dream job as a college football analyst for ESPN, a new wife, and a new lease on life.
His story has been told many times, so I wanted to avoid rehashing the details as much as possible, but I wanted to see if I could tap into and learn from any of the painful, hard-earned wisdom he's gained through his hard past which has turned into a bright and hopeful future.