What Ryan Leaf’s Life In Prison Was Really Like

Ultimately, Ryan Leaf only served two years of his five-year prison sentence. And because the judge granted him time served — 27 months from his initial arrest (via ESPN) — he was released in December 2014, just three months after the official sentencing, per CBS Sports. However, Leaf didn’t easily adjust.

According to the Associated Press, Leaf spent most of his prison bid feeling angry and isolated. However, an encounter with an inmate near the end of his stint changed his perspective. “He got on me one day about how I didn’t understand the value that I had, not only to the men in there but for when I got out, and he confronted me on it,” Leaf shared with the AP. The inmate then suggested they visit the prison library and mentor fellow prisoners who had trouble reading. And while Leaf noted that he usually pushed people away who’d tried to help him “be constructive,” he hesitantly agreed. “It was the first time in my life that I was ever of service to anybody but myself,” Leaf shared with ESPN. “At that moment, I didn’t know it was this big, transformational kind of thing. I was just probably pissing and whining as I went down there,” he continued. 

Lending himself for the benefit of others, helped Leaf realize that, post-prison, he “needed to build a foundation that was built on service.”

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