Colt Lyerla

Colt Lyerla — Will He Get a Second Chance?

  Just about everyone is familiar with the “Big Three” when referring to GM, Ford and Chrysler; LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh; or the folk band, The Big 3. Likewise, Oregon now has its own “Big Three,” which...

Colt Lyerla arrested in Washington County for suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants

Former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla was arrested Saturday morning at 2 a.m. in Washington County on suspicion of driving under the influence of intoxicants, according to The Oregonian.

The 21-year-old would be released at 8:37. The report on his arrest is not yet available, but it is suspected that Lyerla was either high on illegal drugs or prescription medication when he was pulled over.

Lyerla had recently been granted an injury settlement from the Green Bay Packers after injuring ligaments in his left knee Aug. 2 during training camp.

His next court date is scheduled for Sept. 17.

Follow Justin Wise on Twitter @JWISE25  

Ducks in the NFL: Lyerla Back With Packers on Injured Reserve

Earlier this week the Green Bay Packers waived injured Tight End and former Oregon Ducks player Colt Lyerla, but his story with the Packers, which some may have thought was over, is actually just beginning. The troubled young man left the Oregon Ducks last season, was then arrested in Eugene and ultimately went undrafted in […]

Ducks in the NFL: Lyerla Back With Packers on Injured Reserve – Autzen Zoo – Autzen Zoo – An Oregon Ducks Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

Former Oregon TE Lyerla Tears MCL and PCL in Green Bay Packers Camp

Several months ago former Oregon Ducks Tight End Colt Lyerla showed he had talent at the NFL Combine. He went undrafted but was given an opportunity with the Green Bay Packers. Earlier this week in Training Camp Lyerla leaped over a defender in a non-contact drill in practice and injured his knee tearing two ligaments, […]

Former Oregon TE Lyerla Tears MCL and PCL in Green Bay Packers Camp – Autzen Zoo – Autzen Zoo – An Oregon Ducks Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

Complex Colt

I hope things work out for Colt Lyerla and he makes it in the NFL – does that make me a bad Oregon fan? He was one of our most promising athletes to come out of the state of Oregon in years, yet his college football career unraveled right before our very eyes.

If you search “Colt Lyerla” on Twitter, you will see people saying some appalling things about him. I understand why you might not be proud that he sported the Green and Yellow, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hope he works things out and ends up capitalizing on his tantalizing potential.

The case against Lyerla is certainly a strong one –after all, he quit the team during the middle of a then-undefeated season on a team competing for the national title. Earlier that season he missed the game against Tennessee, where true-freshman Johnny Mundt stepped in and scored two touchdowns in Lyerla’s place. Reports of Lyerla leaving Oregon said that it was a mutual decision, both he and head coach Mark Helfrich agreed it was in both their best interests for him to leave.

However, one can’t help but wonder if it truly was as peachy an agreement as we were told. Following his departure, Lyerla was arrested for cocaine possession in Eugene, further tarnishing his reputation throughout the football world.

The arrest and the bizarre end to his college football career turned out to be too much for NFL execs, despite being proclaimed as someone with ‘second-round talent,’ Lyerla went undrafted by all 32 teams at the NFL Draft, and had to wait several days to be signed as an undrafted free agent by the Green Bay Packers.

Colt Lyerla showing off his impressive athleticism

Colt Lyerla showing off his impressive athleticism.

Even though Lyerla was a six-foot-four, five-star recruit that weighed more than 230 pounds when he committed to the Ducks, he came into the program somewhat under the radar. A member of the 2011 recruiting class , he and everyone else in that group (including Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Marcus Mariota) were overshadowed by the now-legendary 11th-hour commitment by De’Anthony Thomas, giving the Ducks the No. 1-rated athlete in the nation.

That season, Lyerla was behind David Paulson on the depth chart, ending up with five touchdowns as a true freshman, in a season that concluded with Oregon winning its first Rose Bowl win in more than 90 years. Though playing second fiddle to Oregon legends LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner and breakout star De’Anthony Thomas, Lyerla showed promise with his almost Bo Jackson-like combination of size and speed.

Colt and Mark Helfrich never seemed to see eye to eye

Colt and Mark Helfrich never seemed to see eye to eye.

The following year, his sophomore season, Lyerla started out with a new number and a new role on the team: starting tight end. Now in with the A-Team, Lyerla became my favorite player to watch, a true ‘Swiss Army Knife’ in Chip Kelly’s arsenal. He was not only a true passing receiving threat when lining up as the tight end, but he even experimented at running back, and was one half of a very memorable touchdown run against Arizona. He looked like “Bane” in an Oregon jersey, an explosive combination of brute force and grace, and he was a whole lot of fun to watch.

What made the season ever better was Lyerla saving one of his best games for last, the 2013 Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State, where he grabbed passes for more than 50 receiving yards in clutch situations. That game, and that season, he was a piece of a prolific offense, one of the many moving parts that combined to form an amazing scene. The only problem was, that this was as good as it would get for him at Oregon.

As his junior year started, Lyerla was not a factor in the offense, yet the team didn’t miss a beat. Making matters worse, he suspiciously missed a game, and voiced his frustrations publicly over how Mark Helrich handled whatever was going on. Shortly thereafter, Lyerla was no longer an Oregon Duck. Someone who had been outshone by the likes of Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas, was finally alone in the spotlight – unfortunately the attention was anything but positive.

In the light of his arrest, I agree it was tempting to shake your head and write him off as another “dumb jock” who was wasting his scholarship, and ultimately, his shot in the NFL. Doesn’t he know he’s in a position people would do (almost) anything to be in? This wasn’t just a guy who blew his chance at professional football, he was on a path that ends in a much darker place than your typical football washout — time behind bars.

This is the main reason I’m pulling for Lyerla to succeed at the next level. Here’s a case of football potentially saving someone’s life. There are lots of stories of people escaping challenging environments through football – Oregon alone has many players from tough environments.

Yet, in my own opinion, the world can always use more stories about people overcoming their own demons. He has seemingly cleaned up his act, he looked good at the combine, running one of the fastest 40s of his group, and most importantly, taking ownership of his poor decisions.

Still, the red flags reigned supreme throughout the Draft. Everyone loves a redemption story, however, and Lyerla could be just that. You don’t have to love him; he certainly didn’t live up to the “Men of Oregon” mantra this program loves, but at least keep an eye on him as he battles for a roster spot with Green Bay. I know I will.

Top photo by Craig Strobeck

Former Ducks Have Big Opportunities in 2014 NFL Season

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The NFL Draft and the spree of free agent signings that follow it are complete, and former Oregon Ducks players have pulled on the jerseys of a smattering of different NFL clubs. But unlike some NFL rookies, who ride the pine or take a back seat for a season or longer, several ex-Ducks have landed in very optimistic situations in terms of their chances of seeing playing time.

We’re going to take a glance at some of the top playmakers from the Oregon Ducks this past season, even one that did not stick around but has a major upside if he can get his act together. Former Wide Receiver Josh Huff, Running Back De’Anthony Thomas and Tight End Colt Lyerla can have a major impact for their respective teams in the upcoming season.

Several former Oregon players have landed in a unique situation with a former Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly in Philadelphia which should increase their chances of seeing the field in the upcoming season. Two names that were picked and will play in the City of Brotherly Love are Wide Receiver Josh Huff and Defensive End Taylor Hart. Let’s take a closer look at the potential for these former Oregon Ducks players.

Josh Huff makes a cut and leaves a Stanford defender on the turf  | Photo by Gary Breedlove
Josh Huff makes a cut and leaves a Stanford defender on the turf | Photo by Gary Breedlove

Josh Huff, Philadelphia Eagles

An appraisal of all of the resources found within an industry sportsbook review aggregator indicates a consensus belief that Oregon Ducks’ Josh Huff will have a negligible impact on the Eagles’ receiving core’s ability to recover from the departure of DeSean Jackson, as their 2015 Super Bowl odds remain at +1,800.

That said, Huff, who was taken in third round (86th overall), is a great fit in Philadelphia, first and foremost of course because of the mutual familiarity and coach Chip Kelly, who coached Huff as a Duck.

Kelly’s knowledge of the young receiver’s talents should mean Huff gets slotted into meaningful offensive snaps right away. As we saw this past season, Huff is good with getting in motion on sweep plays and can cut all over the field – a role the Eagles will be looking to replace now that Jackson is gone.

De'Anthony Thomas
De’Anthony Thomas strikes a Heisman pose in Oregon’s blowout win against UCLA | (Alex Shoemaker/Eugene Daily News)

De’Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs

Speaking of players finding opportunities in the departures of stars, De’Anthony Thomas has one in Kansas City. DAT joins a team that built schemes and special teams plays for former Chiefs highlight-machine Dexter McCluster (who is now a Tennessee Titan). As a player with a similar skill profile, the former Snoop Dogg Youth Football League star might inspire coach Andy Reid to revitalize McCluster’s old playbook.

The former Oregon Ducks speedster appears to have some options with his new team. Several sites heading into the 2014 NFL Draft were discussing where the former Oregon Ducks Running Back would fit in at the next level and some thought that shifting position to Wide Receiver would be a better fit for Thomas. One even went as far as suggesting a move to the Defensive Side as a Cornerback. It looks like Thomas will not change positions but work as a Running Back, and possibly a return man for now.

Colt Lyerla, Green Bay Packers

Another former Oregon Ducks player is looking to make a difference, but also has a shot at redemption. Colt Lyerla’s much-documented struggles with discipline, focus, and addiction have hung a dark cloud over a very talented tight end. His signing with the green and gold nine days after the draft represents an important second chance for Lyerla. This is a young man who needs the focus and support that an organization and city like Green Bay has is spades.

Furthermore, if Lyerla can keep it together off the field, he has the skills to make an impact in an offense that has sorely missed a playmaking TE for years. While he ranks at the bottom of the organization’s tight end depth chart now, there is tremendous room for personal and on-field growth for the former Oregon Duck in Green Bay considering that Starting Tight End Jermichael Finley is injured and also a free agent heading into the 2014 season. Lyerla could end up the backup in Green Bay if he plays his cards right.

Green Bay met Seattle in 2012, the infamous 'TouchdownGate' game
Green Bay met Seattle in 2012, the infamous ‘TouchdownGate’ game

In looking at the Super Bowl odds for the 2014 season, right now SportsBook Nation sees the Seattle Seahawks as the top choice, followed by the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers. This post was made in March, but still holds true as far as talent on the field, however the three Oregon Ducks listed above could take their teams a long way into the playoffs in the upcoming year and become game changing factors in the years ahead for their respective teams.

 

Former Oregon Ducks Tight End Colt Lyerla Signs NFL Contract, Redemption Begins

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There are stories that you hear about athletes doing wrong and never being able to recover from their mistakes. This is not one of those stories. You hear stories of athletes who are given second chances and third and fourth and still cannot get it right.This is not one of those stories. It is however a story of redemption for a Hillsboro native that was searching for a chance after given an opportunity or two and having them pass by. There are those that believe that former Oregon Ducks Tight End Colt Lyerla does not deserve another chance after leaving the football program at Oregon for ‘personal circumstances’ and then being an idiot for being caught in his car with a ‘white substance’ by the local Eugene Police Department, but that is not the story your going to read.

Colt Lyerla Feature

I believe that college athletes deserve a chance(or two) to get it right. Lyerla did not get drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft a few weeks ago and this past weekend had a tryout, along with fifty eight other athletes for a chance to make the roster for the Green Bay Packers. In the end, the former Oregon Ducks Tight End came out with a Free Agent Contract on Monday. The Lambeau crew should look forward to seeing this young man on the field. He will compete in the Fall for what I believe may be the backup tight end spot with Starter Jermichael Finley not only out with an injury, but also a free agent. Lyerla is in a prime position to show off his athleticism and strength at the position.

By some, he had done wrong and he still has several demons to face, but he now has the opportunity and a path to redemption for not only his career, but his personal life. For a guy who left the Oregon Ducks football program and pretty much instantly growing character issues, when it comes to Lyerla I am happy he has the chance to prove himself at the next level. I hope he takes the bull by the horns and shows what he is made of. He may even surprise everyone and make the roster of an NFL team in the Fall.

Colt Lyerla 3

In signing with Green Bay, Colt Lyerla is now in the spotlight. The former Oregon Ducks player found a way to shift the story, and that is not always an easy thing to do. I know I am not the only person reading this who will be a ‘fan’ of him in the future.

For a different take on the Oregon Ducks, visit AutzenZoo.com

Former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla earns tryout at Green Bay Packers rookie minicamp

Former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla will try out for the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent. Lyerla will compete among a pool of 58 rookies at the Packers’ rookie camp.

In the weeks after he withdrew from Oregon, Lyerla was charged with cocaine possession and interfering with police. At the NFL combine, Lyerla said he wanted opportunity to play for former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles.

During last week’s NFL draft, Lyerla went undrafted. The Packers were, however, one of three teams that attended Lyerla’s pro day, which was held at Portland State’s Stott Community Field.

The 6-foot-4, 242-pound tight end ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine. Lyerla was considered one of the best athletes at his position in this year’s draft.

Follow Hayden Kim on Twitter @HayDayKim

Chip Kelly Update: A Draft Pick, Broken Silence and an Army Hero

In my last column, I wrote about Chip Kelly’s long post-season silence, even amid the controversy over releasing star WR DeSean Jackson.  The weeks since January 4th have felt like an eternity of baseless speculation, what-ifs and angst over every conceivable draft pick.

There have been so many mock drafts that a bunch of writers in Philadelphia have started an #MDMD competition, where they draft mock drafts into teams of mock drafts, which will compete against each other in, I don’t know, some kind of recursive fantasy football league.

Our long national nightmare is over.  The draft is underway (though only the first round has finished as we go to press).  But even before that, the Eagles dropped two juicy chunks of red meat for fans: a 12-minute Chip Kelly press conference (his first since DeSean was cut), and the signing of an undrafted free agent who’s a genuine stud.

Neither item would be very dramatic in December, but this time of year it’s life-saving nourishment for that pack of ravenous wolves we call the press.

The draft is full of misdirection, bluffing and carefully cultivated false hopes, like a game of poker where you can trade cards, and Chip Kelly (& his GM Howie Roseman) did a masterful job of concealing their hand.  You can tell by the wide range of contradictory predictions based on “hot inside information.”

Depending on who you read, the Eagles were sure to trade up for Johnny Manziel (even though they have Nick Foles, a young and inexpensive QB who led the NFL in passer rating) or Anthony Barr (the UCLA RB who converted to OLB) or Odell Beckham (a speedy WR with the same physical limits as DeSean Jackson) or safety HaHa Clinton-Dix.

Or they were guaranteed to trade down into the second round to get an extra pick or two, and take big wide receiver Cody Lattimer from Indiana (who played in a spread offense) or Jeremiah Attaochu, a raw pass-rushing OLB who could replace Trent Cole in a year, or Kelvin Benjamin, a huge WR who isn’t very good at route running, blocking or catching footballs.  [Ed. note: Wouldn’t Benjamin look good in Raider Silver & Black?]

No, that’s not it, they were obviously going to stay put with the 22nd pick in the draft and pick either of two WRs  — Marquise Lee of USC or Brandin Cooks of Oregon State.

Or Beckham or Barr if they fell.  Or cornerback/safety Kyle Fuller of Virginia Tech.

Even Chip’s general principles were disputed.  He’ll pick a bunch of Oregon players, Terrance Mitchell and Josh Huff and DAT, of course, and Colt Lyerla.  No, he actually prefers Pac-12 players who did well against the Ducks, such as Cooks and Lee and Bishop Sankey.  No, he just wants bigger guys who beat up little guys.

Some of this is media invention, such as the Manziel speculation, which was constructed by reporters twisting Chip’s words at his recent press conference. (Coach Kelly spoke at the Eagles’ 18th annual Playground Build event.)

But much of it was, in fact, artful dodging by the Eagles’ front office, undoubtedly leaking contradictory information to different reporters to muddy the waters.

The reality is that it’s almost impossible to predict what the Eagles’ choice in each round will be until the teams ahead of them pick.  Manziel did in fact fall to pick No. 22, surprising almost everyone, but despite endless speculation about Chip’s love for mobile quarterbacks, the Eagles ended up trading the that pick (as I predicted) to a QB-hungry team drafting behind them, in return for a slightly lower pick and an extra 3rd-rounder in a very deep draft.

As for Oregon players, the very astute Jimmy Kempski has DE Taylor Hart listed as a 5th round possibility for Philadelphia — and no one else. (The Birds brought him in for a workout/medical exam.) DAT did not have a great year, and may just be too small to make it in the NFL.  Further, the Eagles recently traded for Darren Sproles, who plays the same TAZR position.

Terrance Mitchell isn’t as big as Chip would like and too much of a zone coverage specialist. Colt Lyerla is, well, Colt.  Josh Huff would be a good pickup as a slot receiver and special teams contributor, if he falls to the 5th-7th round.  But he may not last that long.

Before the draft even began, the Eagles found a player who fits every one of Chip’s dream qualities — aside from football prowess.

Alejandro Villanueva is a 6’9″, 277 pound WR converted to DE — similar to Dion Jordan — who happens to be a genuine war hero.  He hasn’t played organized football since 2009, because he has been fighting with the Army Rangers in Afghanistan, where he won a friggin’ Bronze Star.  He’s obviously a long shot to make the team, but you know he can follow a program and isn’t afraid of working out.

After all that talk and speculation, the Eagles ended up drafting Johnny Manziel with their No. 22 pick — sort of.  They traded the No. 22 (which Cleveland used to draft Manziel) for a high 3rd-round pick and a No. 26, which they used to draft Marcus Smith.

Who? Marcus Smith is a slightly undersized but very accomplished OLB from Louisville. Better pass rushing was the Eagles’ No. 1 need, and Chip surprised everybody with a smart choice that has a very high probability of filling that gap.

OK, a few of the savviest draft watchers called this — Mike Mayock of NFL Network, Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz (who mentioned him in a trade-down scenario hours before the draft), and Mike Kaye of Bleeding Green Nation (who called him months ago) — but the fans at the Eagles’ draft party were completely baffled.

Smith is a classic Chip Kelly pick — smart, good character, accomplished and coachable with a big upside.

Here are a few interesting facts about Marcus Smith:

1)  He’s versatile.  Like last year’s No. 1 pick — Lane Johnson — and Chip Kelly himself, Smith is a high school quarterback who converted to a less glamorous position.

2)  Smith was second in the nation in sacks (with 14.5) and No. 1 in sacks per game (at 1.12).

3)  Marcus played in one of the few 3-4 defensive alignments in college, and is probably the most complete 3/4 ROLB in the draft; he can rush, cover, defend the run and set the edge. On a conference call, he said he dropped into pass coverage about half the time last year.  The Eagles are finishing a conversion to the 3-4 defense that Kelly installed at Oregon, and have a strong LOLB in Connor Barwin, so he’s a perfect fit.

4)  Smith has already graduated, meaning, a) he’s smart, and b) he can join the Eagles’ off-season program on Monday.  Last year, Zach Ertz was set back considerably by having to go back and finish his studies into June, due to PAC-12 rules.

5)  The Eagles tried to trade up (presumably for Brandin Cooks) but the price was too high. There were 6 players the Eagles were targeting at #22 and all were gone by that time.

My editor is already yelling at me to finish this column, delayed for the late first-round draft pick, so I need to wrap this up. [Ed. note: ‘preciate it, Mark]

In my view, Chip and the Eagles started the draft with a bang, drafting exactly what they needed and picking up an extra 3rd-round pick in the process.

I can’t wait to see what they do in the rest of the draft!

2014 NFL Draft: Does Anyone Care About Former Oregon Duck Colt Lyerla?

In what may turn out to be quite the story this weekend for one former Oregon Ducks player, the story of former tight end Colt Lyerla is one of failure, and could ultimately become one of decent and talented success for a young man with some heavy character issues. Where do I start with this […]

2014 NFL Draft: Does Anyone Care About Former Oregon Duck Colt Lyerla? – Autzen Zoo – Autzen Zoo – An Oregon Ducks Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and more.

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