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Turning over a new Leaf: Ryan retires
NFL.com wire reports
CHENEY, Wash. (July 26, 2002) -- Ryan Leaf, once considered one of the NFL's most promising young quarterbacks, has retired.
Leaf, the No. 2 overall pick in the 1998 draft, did not report to the Seattle Seahawks' training camp when quarterbacks were due at the team's facility at Eastern Washington University here.
Team spokesman Dave Pearson said the second overall pick in the 1998 draft, who fizzled in San Diego, Tampa Bay and Dallas, had informed the team he is retiring.
In four seasons, Leaf appeared in 25 games, making 21 starts. He completed 317 of 655 passes for 3,666 yards and 14 touchdowns. He threw 36 interceptions and had a dismal quarterback rating of 50.
Leaf, 26, signed with the Seahawks in May, a day after being released by the Cowboys.
Coach and general manager Mike Holmgren was not available for comment, the team said. Calls to Leaf's agent, David Dunn, were not immediately returned.
Leaf had been battling an injured right wrist, which he hurt against the Seahawks in a game in the 2000 season. It kept him from making the Tampa Bay roster after he got cut by the Chargers.
The 6-foot-5, 248-pound Leaf, taken right after Indianapolis took Peyton Manning with the first pick four years ago, participated in the team's spring minicamps and had said he was looking forward to another chance. Many scouts thought he was better than Manning, now one of the top QBs in the NFL, and predicted an outstanding future for him.
But Leaf not only failed to perform on the field but also alienated teammates and the media with frequent tirades blaming others for his problems.
"His ability to pass is going to be hugely important to him in the future," Holmgren said during a recent minicamp.
"In Dallas, he said it didn't bother him. It hasn't bothered him since he's been here. But he had an injury to it and anytime a quarterback injures something like his wrist, you're going to be thinking about it."
Holmgren will open the 2002 season with Trent Dilfer as his No. 1 quarterback and Matt Hasselbeck as his backup. Leaf would have been competing for the No. 3 job against rookies Jeff Kelly of Southern Mississippi and Ryan Van Dyke of Michigan State.
The Associated Press News Service
<small>[ July 26, 2002, 04:45 PM: Message edited by: NCTrafficMan ]</small>