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Former San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf slammed the NFL in an emotional video posted to social media on Monday, where he accused the league of not caring about the mental health of players after they retire. His video was in response to reports that longtime NFL wide receiver Vincent Jackson was found dead in a Florida hotel earlier that day.
Leaf posted the nearly two-minute-long video on Twitter, adding in the caption that he won’t “continue to stand by and watch my brothers disappear because the multi-billion [dollar] corporation won’t do the right thing.”
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“I don’t know what the f— to do anymore,” Leaf began. “My NFL brothers continue to die and nobody’s doing a goddamn thing about it.”
WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
Leaf, who was drafted by the Chargers with the No.2 pick in 1998, spoke about another player he talked to on Monday who claims he spent the weekend in the “psych ward,” although he did not say who.
“The NFL just doesn’t f—ing care. They don’t care,” the 1997 Heisman Trophy finalist said. “They’ll write condolence letters and sh– like that but if they were invested they’d actually put some money behind the Legends Community and into the mental health, substance abuse side of it. Once you’re bad for the brand, the shield, they could give two sh–s.”
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Leaf’s video was in response to the news on Monday that Vincent Jackson, a former wide receiver who played 12 seasons with the Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers was found dead in a hotel room in Brandon, Fla.
Jackson, 38, was reported missing last week but was tracked down to a hotel where he had been staying since he first checked in on Jan. 11. His cause of death was not immediately known but Leaf’s message seems to suggest he believes it had to do with mental health.
“I don’t know what the hell to do. They don’t get how precious life is. Then I have this f—ing survivors guilt. A ton of it.”
You need to do something,” Leaf continued, addressing the league. “Just be part of the solution, please.”
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Leaf’s short NFL career was marred by bad behavior and media outbursts. After losing the starting quarterback job at the end of his rookie season, he was released just two years later with a record of 4-18 as the Chargers’ starter.
He was signed by the Bucs in 2001 but released before the start of the season. He was then signed by the Dallas Cowboys but was ultimately released at the end of the season after just four appearances.
Leaf continued to struggle after his NFL career ended. He experienced several run-ins with the law between 2009 and 20020, including a series of drug and burglary arrests for which he served time. He was most recently arrested in May for domestic battery.
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