Another week closer to college football and the NFL season. We are counting down the days until the official first game of the season where Miami battles Florida on August 24, but before that we point, we will officially have teams in training camp next week.
Football is upon us, the sprinklers watering the fresh green grass and the sight of our favorite players and draft prospects moving around in shoulder pads and helmets is inching closer.
Today's Reiding Between the Lines recaps what's turned into one of the biggest offensive line summits in the country. In its second year, the recaps shared from the Offensive Line Mastermind Summit was incredible. I also dive into a redemption story unlike any other from a former first-round quarterback.
Offensive Line Masterminds
In what started out as just a floated brainstorming idea, Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson and offensive line guru and developer Duke Manyweather felt that there was a lack of galvanization amongst offensive lineman throughout the NFL. The defensive line talent throughout the league is only getting greater by the season and with the disparity between the talent up front only growing greater, they felt as if there was a need to host an event that helped get some of the leagues best to come together while also showing the ropes to the younger talent entering the league.
Hosted annually in Frisco, Texas, the events second year just concluded. From Terron Armstead to Garrett Bradbury, there were over 40-plus NFL offensive lineman in attendance. Another wrinkle added to the fold was the inclusion of some of the best college prospects in the country as well.
The Summit has grown into a national event to where talent from all over the country flock to the Star in order to attend the three-day event. From technique to life in general, that is the wide range of topics that are covered at the event.
There are lengthy classroom sessions followed by field work where players get to share past experiences, executed techniques, and traits among one another. Players are able to ask questions to each other and pinpoint certain tactics that work or didn't work for them against certain rushers.
Seeing happenings like this take place are unique especially involving a position that is considered to be underdeveloped entering the league. Even though it's a short time period spent together, there's a wealth of knowledge shared over the course of the sessions.
Ryan Leaf's Redemption
The back and forth debate for the Indianapolis Colts prior to the 1998 NFL Draft remained who should they select with the top overall pick. There was a young phenom named Peyton Manning from Tennessee, who was seen as a "can't miss prospect", but directly behind him was a gunslinger who many thought had more upside in Washington State's Ryan Leaf.
There's a host of stories outlining Leaf's draft status and whether or not he had what it took to be a franchise signal caller. Lets just say that their careers couldn't have turned out anymore as opposites.
Manning went on to become a two-time Super Bowl champion and one of the greatest quarterbacks who ever lived. Meanwhile, Leaf was proving his critics right as he flamed out and only experienced a three-year career.
After retiring from the league, he went on to face a multitude of legal troubles. In May of 2009, Leaf was indicted on burglary and controlled-substance charges in Texas. From there, he also had run ins with the law in 2010 and 2012 that resulted in being sentenced to 10 years of probation.
Already labeled as one of the biggest draft busts of all-time, many were scared for his life and didn't know where his troubled past would lead him. His final run in with law enforcement came in 2014 where he spent four months in jail for many previous events.
But suddenly his life changed. Enough was enough and he was tired of being the laughing stock of everyone's draft talk. Recently, Leaf's life experienced a complete 180 degree turn.
To the surprise of many, Leaf was hired as a ESPN college football analyst for the 2019 season. An accomplishment that came out of left field, it's a credit to him completely changing his life around into being a well respected football mind following his tumultuous road since being drafted with the second overall pick in 1998.