Ryan Leaf gives motivational speech to Ole Miss during fall camp
Ryan Leaf stopped by Oxford, Mississippi this week to deliver a motivational speech to Lane Kiffin’s program.
The former No. 2 overall pick focused his speech on how fleeting a football career can be. He also described his friendship with legendary QB Peyton Manning, despite the divergent paths they took after being picked in the 1998 NFL Draft.
“Remember to enjoy the journey, because it’s over so fast,” Leaf said. “I just back from Canton, Ohio, for Peyton Manning’s enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. What’s pretty cool about football is you make relationships. He ended up being the Greatest of all time, and I ended up being considered one of the biggest busts. And him and I are about as close a friends as you can imagine. Because we’re both 45 year old men who are dads now. Football’s gonna end. For some, much sooner than you think.”
Leaf also laid out the statistics of how rare an NFL career is — let alone one that lasts more than eight years or results in a Hall of Fame candidacy.
“The average length of a career is 2.8 years,” Leaf said. “There have been 336 Hall of Fame football players out of the 24,000 that have every played … There are only 1,000 who have ever played eight-plus years. Do you know what the odds are that you’ll play in the NFL? They’re about as limited as you can.”
Leaf is speaking from experience — his NFL career lasted just four years. He threw 36 interceptions and 14 touchdowns across 25 career NFL games.
He also stressed the importance of investing in other people within the Ole Miss program.
“Take everything that comes to you right now and enjoy every minute of it,” Leaf added. “And understand that everybody wants to see you fail that are outside this room. That are outside these walls. But everybody inside it wants to see you be a success. Your coaches, your support staff, everybody wants to see you be successful. There’s an investment in you. Invest in them.”
Here’s a longer clip of his remarks to the Rebels:
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) August 12, 2021
Ole Miss opens its 2021 season against Louisville on Sept. 6.