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Ryan Leaf to his 21-year-old-self: You don’t know (stuff)

UPDATED: Thu., April 27, 2017

Washington State's Ryan Leaf looks downfield for a receiver in the first quarter of the 84th Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 1, 1998. (ERIC DRAPER / Associated Press)
Washington State's Ryan Leaf looks downfield for a receiver in the first quarter of the 84th Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 1, 1998. (ERIC DRAPER / Associated Press)

PULLMAN – On the eve of the 2017 NFL Draft, the second-highest draft pick in Washington State history laid bare his soul.

The Ryan Leaf story has been told many times, by many people. How he was a Heisman Finalist at Washington State and the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft after Peyton Manning. How injuries and bad behavior cut short his NFL career, and how he fell into a spiral of drugs and repeated arrests.

On Wednesday he told his story himself, penning a letter to his 21-year-old self in the Players’ Tribune and opening up about his boorishness, his struggles with prescription painkillers and his attempted suicide.

“I’m kind of glad things worked out the way they did,” Leaf writes. “I know that sounds cliché, but if I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything. Not even the decisions that took me to rock bottom. I would want everything to be exactly the same, because today, I’m happy with my life and with who I am. And I’d rather be happy and have strong relationships in my life like I do now than be just another asshole with a couple of Super Bowl rings.”

You can read the letter in its entirety here.

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