It doesn't have the dramatic flair of O.J. Simpson's slow speed chase along the freeways of Los Angeles, but Ryan Leaf has joined the Juice among the files of former NFL players turned fugitives. Leaf was indicted on May 20th in Texas on drug and burglary charges stemming from an apparent addiction to painkillers.
Among other charges, he's accused of breaking into the apartment of a player he coached at West Texas A&M with the intent of stealing painkillers. He agreed to turn himself in on those charges, but a funny thing happened on the way to the police station.
“At one point he said he was going to turn himself in. He hasn't turned himself in yet, and if he gets picked up he's going to be arrested,” Randall County prosecutor Lacy Miller said. “If he gets picked up out of our jurisdiction, then we will extradite him or use whatever means we have to get him back. Right now he is a wanted individual.”
Reality shows are all the rage in the pro football world these days, what with Michael Irvin, Terrell Owens and the forthcoming "Hard Knocks" at the Cincinnati Bengals training camp. A savvy television producer might want to get on the horn with Dog the Bounty Hunter and send him on Leaf's trail. It might not take long to find him, but it would be gripping when they finally caught up to Leaf and he blamed the burglary on a one-armed man who he has been hunting across the country.
Leaf reportedly spent some time in drug rehab recently, which would fit the charges he's facing, and turning himself in would probably be the quickest route to getting help. The longer he avoids the police, the more likely it is that his punishment will be more severe and less likely that it will be aimed at helping Leaf move forward in his life.