We’d imagine few people in the world understand Johnny Manziel’s plight as well as Ryan Leaf.
Maybe the most famous bust in NFL history, Leaf went from being the second overall pick in 1998—only Peyton Manning was picked higher that year—to being out of the league by the beginning of the 2002 season, thanks in part to issues that Manziel has struggled with. In an appearance on 103.3-FM ESPN Radio’s Cowlishaw & Mosley show this week, Leaf said that when he sees Manziel struggling to get it together now, it reminds him of him.
"It's like a mirror, it really is," Leaf said, per ESPN Dallas. "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."