While poor off-field behavior and injuries contributed to Leaf’s NFL flame-out, his horrendous play — 13-33 TD-INT ratio, 48.8 rating and a record of 4-14 in 18 starts for the Chargers — would have been enough. San Diego dumped him as soon as the 2000 season ended.
Enis, who was coming off a pair of stellar seasons at Penn State, never seemed to recover from the knee injury he suffered early in his rookie season with the Bears. He lasted just three seasons in the NFL, all with Chicago, and scored only four touchdowns. His bad knee forced his retirement at age 24.
By the time his red-eye flight landed in Washington the next morning, a groggy Lawson “wandered” through his first practice with the Wizards before boarding yet another international flight to Toronto, where the Wizards opened the postseason.
In all, Lawson’s 29-hour trip spanned nearly 8,000 miles while crossing 11 time zones. That odyssey, though, feels like a layup when compared to the long, winding journey he has taken to get back to the NBA.
“People forgot about him,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “I think you kind of forgot about how fast he is, how he has been a starting point guard on some very successful teams in Denver.”
Stephen Piscotty (R), 45.8 percent, Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers (RHP Doug Fister): Though he’s left the yard just once in his first 22 games, Piscotty has enjoyed an uptick in batted-ball force (35.3 hard contact percentage) during the initial stages of his homecoming, and the new Athletic is 16-for-47 (.340) over his last 12 contests. He’s not particularly split-leaning, which lines him up to test Fister, who himself has coughed up a 34.9 hard-hit rate and must work in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park.
Ben Gamel (L), 1.5 percent, Seattle Mariners at Chicago White Sox (RHP James Shields): The smidge of thump Gamel boasts typically comes against righties. Ten of his 11 big flies last year fell within that split. Left-handed bats pummeled Shields to a .388 wOBA in 2017.
“There were probably times where he was right there, with being an All-Star when he played in Denver,” Brooks said. “We knew when we picked him up he would give us a spark somewhere.
“He’s a problem [for other teams],” Brooks added.