Chargers coach Mike Riley, who coached for two years in what is now NFL Europe, says he will strongly consider assigning quarterback Ryan Leaf to the developmental league next spring. In light of what the league did for Brad Johnson, Kurt Warner, Jon Kitna and Damon Huard, that's a great idea—assuming Leaf agrees to go and leaves his know-it-all attitude behind.
"If Ryan goes there with a good attitude, this would really help him," says Kitna, who played for the Barcelona Dragons in the spring of 1997 "If he goes there just thinking 'When's the next plane home?' there's no use going. It's up to him. It's not always easy over there."
What does Leaf think of the idea? "It's not an option," he said last week. "It's just not going to happen. Period."
With his reaction, Leaf, who has been sidelined since undergoing shoulder surgery during the preseason, showed his true colors. It's further proof that he's not willing to do what it takes to be successful in the NFL.
Iron Mike's Plight
Saints Want Ditka Back
What's it like telling Mike Ditka you're taking $20,000 from him? "You mean what is it like for a young G.M. to walk into the office of a coach in the Hall of Fame, with three Super Bowl rings, and say, 'I can't accept your actions and I'm going to fine you?' It's not easy," New Orleans general manager Bill Kuharich said last week, after fining Ditka for making obscene gestures to the home crowd during and after a 24-21 loss to the Titans on Oct. 17 "Mike was a man about it. He said, 'You're right. It's unacceptable.' "
Ditka, whose contract runs through 2002, was 6-10 in each of his first two seasons with the Saints, and at 1-5 after a 31-3 loss to the Giants on Sunday, is well on his way toward a worse mark this season. Nevertheless, Kuharich says he wants Ditka back in 2000.
For Law, Money Isn't Everything
Patriots cornerback Ty Law, who in the off-season signed a seven-year, $50 million contract, ought to be enjoying himself. Instead, he is laboring under the expectations that came with the new deal and struggling with the increasing use of zone coverage by New England. Playing mostly man-to-man last season, Law led the league with nine interceptions. This year he has one. "My name's not Ty Law anymore," he says. "It's The $50 Million Cornerback."...
Dolphins kicker Olindo Mare, who has converted 22 of 23 field goal attempts, is on pace to kick 59. The NFL record is 37....