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Ryan Leaf Faces Lock-Down Drug Treatment

Fifteen months of compulsory treatment could cut the former NFL QB and painkiller addict's sentence.

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Leaf has a long road ahead of him.
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By McCarton Ackerman

06/20/12

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Troubled former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf has just been given a seven-year sentence. He violated the terms of a 10-year probation sentence he received in 2010, when he stole prescription pain meds from a player's home while he was a coach at West Texas A&M. At least the first 15 months of his stay with the Department of Corrections will be spent locked down in Montana—nine of them at a drug treatment facility in Lewistown that he will be unable to leave, followed by six at a pre-release treatment center. If all goes well, Leaf could be eligible for monitored release for the remainder of his term. But his attorney argues that he relapsed while undergoing chemotherapy for a brain tumor. Last April, Leaf was convicted of breaking into a Montana home and admitted a few days earlier to possession unprescribed oxycodone. At his sentencing, he told the judge that he was embarrassed for his actions and that prison had become a "sanctuary" for him. ''I have enjoyed my time in there more than my previous 15 years,'' he said. There are examples of the prison-drug treatment combination being successful with NFL athletes though: former defensive end Johnny Jolly has been winning his struggle with cocaine addiction over the last eight months, and is now applying for reinstatement to the NFL, after being suspended indefinitely for his own drug charges.

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