Ryan Leaf On NFL: ‘Money-Printing Propaganda Machine’ That Goes ‘Where The PR Campaigns Tell Them’

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf, who has truly had one of the most remarkable journeys a professional athletes could have, is speaking out against the NFL and their recent public relations campaigns.

Leaf was the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, famously selected behind Peyton Manning. Leaf struggled in the NFL, was called one of the biggest busts in the league’s history and delved deeply into substance abuse.

Despite the troubles, Leaf embraces his difficult past and even has a podcast called “Bust: The Ryan Leaf Story.” That ability to look back on his former life with an honest eye has also lended itself to some pretty blunt observations from the former quarterback.

Appearing on “The Adam Carolla Show” this week, Leaf talked about the NFL and says he doesn’t believe that the league cares at all about its players, despite all of the “player safety” campaigns.

“I don’t believe for a moment that the NFL believes any of the stuff that they’re doing,” Leaf said. “I believe they’re going where the wind blows or where the PR campaigns tell them to go. They are a propaganda machine. They are a money-printing propaganda machine.

“I would just rather them be honest. [Say] ‘hey, we know who we are, we exemplify a violent game that ultimately ruins people’s lives down the line but we want to give you the best product we can,” Leaf continued.

“I would respect them so much more if they said it blatantly that honest, rather than try to cover it up with all this bullsh*t around the side of it. They don’t care about the players. They don’t care about, certainly, the former players — as so many of them are dying because of the head trauma that they’ve dealt with.”

Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf talk prior to a college football game in 2019. The pair will be forever linked because of the 1998 NFL Draft, though their paths since that day have gone in very different directions.
Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf will be forever linked because of the 1998 NFL Draft, though their paths since that day have gone in very different directions. (Getty Images)

Leaf encouraged the former players to band together because he doesn’t believe they will ever get the support from the NFL.

“It’s up to us now — the NFL brotherhood, all of us, the 27,000 of us over the past 100 years — it’s our responsibility to be there for one another because [the NFL] is not going to, regardless of what you think you might see in the commercials or whatever else they might present.”

You can watch the full interview below. Comments on the NFL begin at the 43:22 mark.

Ryan Leaf appeared on The Adam Carolla Show and had strong words for the NFL.

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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