Hunter S. Thompson told Colts owner Jim Irsay to draft Leaf over Peyton Manning in the 1998 NFL draft.

By Charlotte Carroll
July 06, 2018

In a new letter revealed by former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf, journalist Hunter S. Thompson told Colts owner Jim Irsay to draft Leaf over Peyton Manning in the 1998 NFL draft.

The Colts had the No. 1 pick, and Irsay was looking for a $30 million loan to help secure Manning. 

But Thompson wasn't having Manning, and wrote a letter to Irsay before the draft. 

"[Leaf] looks strong & Manning doesn't — or at least not strong enough to handle that 'Welcome to the NFL' business for two years without a world-class offensive line," the late Thompson wrote.

Manning retired after the 2015 season with 71,940 career passing yards and 539 touchdown passes — which are both all-time NFL records. He led the Colts to the playoffs 11 times and the Super Bowl twice with one victory. He's even got a statue outside Lucas Oil Stadium. 

Leaf stayed in the NFL for three seasons, throwing 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.

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