Originally created 09/24/98

Leaf regrets blowup at reporter

SAN DIEGO -- The education of Ryan Leaf continues. Sort of.

San Diego Chargers coach Kevin Gilbride and quarterbacks coach June Jones both said on Wednesday that they spoke with the rookie quarterback about his obscenity-laced blowup at a reporter on Monday.

General manager Bobby Beathard also spoke to Leaf about the incident, a portion of which was videotaped by a TV cameraman and has been shown coast to coast.

Leaf, the second pick in April's draft, apparently has already put the incident behind him. He was asked Wednesday if there had been any fallout, such as the organization discussing it with him.

"Oh, no," Leaf said. "Not at all."

A Chargers spokesman standing nearby winced.

"I regret that it happened," Leaf did say. "But what are you going to do about it? It's no big deal now. You move on. It's in the past. There's nothing you can do about it. It has no relevance on how I approach playing a football game. It has nothing to do with football."

Actually, his coaches disagree with him on that point.

"Being a quarterback at this level is more than just throwing the football," Gilbride said. "The guys who make it in this league, at this position, are able to accept and handle and deal with all the things that are attendant with being a quarterback. And there's a lot involved."

The mild-mannered Jones said he spoke to Leaf about how to handle himself, "as I'm sure everybody has.

"It's important that he maintains his composure not just on the field but off the field, too," Jones said. "He's in the limelight and that's part of being the quarterback is that you're going to get scrutinized a little bit more than everybody else."

Jones noted that Leaf is only 22, but also said the incident was "a lapse in judgment."

Leaf got some serious scrutiny after Sunday's 23-7 loss in the rain at Kansas City, in which he completed just 1 of 15 passes for 4 yards, fumbled three times and had two passes intercepted. Leaf, who had been hospitalized overnight Thursday for what the team said was a viral infection, broke the club record for passing futility. His passing rating of 41.1 is second-lowest in the NFL.

On Monday, Leaf ripped into a San Diego Union-Tribune reporter who noted in that day's newspaper that Leaf directed obscenities toward a cameraman who was shooting postgame interviews for "Chargers Report," one of the team's weekly TV shows.

After threatening to never give the reporter another interview, Leaf -- a broadcasting major while at Washington State -- leaped from his stool in front of his locker and stood over the reporter in a threatening manner while screaming at him. Linebacker Junior Seau hustled Leaf toward the showers.

The Chargers (2-1) play host to the New York Giants (1-2) on Sunday, and Leaf told New York writers during a conference call Wednesday that he spoke with some veteran quarterbacks this week about going through similar experiences.

He was asked which quarterbacks he spoke with.

"Those are personal, just friends of mine, guys you don't need to know about," Leaf said.

Meanwhile, Natrone Means was credited with five additional yards from his career-best performance after Elias Sports Bureau checked the game film. That fix meant Means ran for 165 yards, and it bumped his season total to 309, moving him past Seattle's Ricky Watters by one yard and into second place in the AFC.

Means carried for 15 yards on a second-quarter play on which Derrick Thomas was penalized for illegal uses of hands, a 5-yard penalty. The official statisticians credited Means with a 10-yard carry and Thomas with a 10-yard penalty.

Coincidentally, the error originally was pointed out by the same reporter who was screamed at by Leaf.


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