“QB History-Anniversary-San Diego”
Dan Fouts-Stan Humphries-Philip Rivers.
Pretty good NFL quarterbacks. Fouts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Humphries led the Chargers to their only Super Bowl Appearance. Rivers has rewritten all the passing records, but has only gotten to the AFC title game once.
Mention those names and the stories keep on coming about record setting passing days, big wins, wild comebacks, and memorable games.
This weekend is the 20th anniversary of another quarterback with the Bolts, Ryan Leaf, who brought the franchise down, and destroyed his career-life.
It was 20-years ago now when the Chargers, coming off horrid seasons, selected Leaf with the 2nd pick in the NFL draft right after the Indianapolis Colts had taken Peyton Manning.
The Chargers went thru 18-different quarterbacks between the time Dan Fouts retired and the franchise traded for Stan Humphries of the Redskins.
Then Humphries career ended with a concussion a couple of years after the teams Super Bowl run, and they went thru 18-more quarterbacks, until that 1998-draft, that brought them Leaf.
Thru all those bad years, you’ll remember the names Mark Vlasic, Sean Salisbury, Bob Gagliano, Mark Herrman, Jim Everett, Jim Harbaugh, Tom Flick, Craig Whelihan, Jim McMahon and more, as the franchise tried to find someone-anyone to be competitive under center.
The Ryan Leaf acquisition was supposed to be the one that led the franchise back.
While Manning led Tennessee to great seasons in the SEC, Leaf set passing records at Washington State in the Pac 10-Conference. Leaf and his ‘Fab 5’ receivers corps were so much fun to watch.
The fun ended shortly after he was drafted.
GM-Bobby Beathard, like a lot of scouts around the NFL, thought they had a diamond in the rough in Leaf. Big (6’5), thick (235lbs), a cannon for an arm, a smile and a leader. The so-called diamond became fools-gold.Ωz
They were misled by Cougars coach Mike Price, who flat out lied about Leaf. Disliked by teammates, arrogant, not a student of the game, a party guy, an arrogant ass.
He wasn’t ready to play, and yet troubled head coach Kevin Kilbride threw him on the field early.
The memories of this mess are still everywhere in San Diego, even if the franchise is no longer here.
Leaf drunk in a bar, wearing sun glasses. Leaf injuring his writs screwing around in practice, diving on a loose football.
Leaf, supposedly doing rehab, discovered playing flag football in Mission Bay, while the team was on the road, and he wa supposed to be doing rehab.
The horrific (1-15) passing day with 3-picks in the rain in Kansas City. The 6-interception game in Seattle’s Kingdome against the Hawks. The blowup in the lockeroom with the media. His suspension by his General Manager.
A career record of (4-17), a trade to Dallas, a spiral down addiction to pain-killers, jail time-rehab and all.
Peyton Manning went to Super Bowls and will go to the Hall of Fame. Leaf went to prison and goes down as one of the all time biggest busts in NFL draft history.
It took forever for the Chargers to pick up the pieces. They discovered Drew Brees, then they traded the rights to Eli Manning for the rights to Philip Rivers.
The Chargers have had good seasons with Rivers at the helm, though they have never gotten to a Super Bowl.
We now look forward to next Thursday’s NFL draft, where 5-quarterbacks could all go in the first round. Might be a superstar in the Sam Darnold-Josh Allen-Josh Rosen-Baker Mayfield group. Might be a washout or two too.
The pictures are everywhere in the minds of longtime Chargers fans.
Fouts, with blood on the front of his uniform, quarterbacking Air Coryell. Humphries bomb’s away mentality in the playoffs. Rivers slingshot passing style and all those 400-yard games.
But you can never get away from the horror of Ryan Leaf era either.
Twenty years removed, the nitemare that was Ryan Leaf is part of Chargers history, and it just will never-ever go away. An anniversary you’d like to forget.