Green Bay Packers tight end Colt Lyerla catches a pass during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field before he was injured and waived. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Colt Lyerla's track to NFL derailed - for now

Colt Lyerla, the rookie tight end signed this spring by the Green Bay Packers after the talented, but troubled Oregon Duck went undrafted and unwanted by the rest of the league, was told today that he will be waived and placed on injured reserve for the rest of the season if no other team claims him off that list.

It’s not a surprising move, considering Lyerla tore the medial collateral and posterior collateral ligaments in his right knee after landing awkwardly on his leg when hurtling a would-be tackler during the team’s annual Family Night practice Aug. 2.

At 6-4 and 247 pounds, Lyerla was compared to players like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham during his playing days at Oregon, but it was his personal problems with drugs and his decision last fall to leave the Oregon football program midseason that drew criticism and kept teams from taking him seriously.

… it was his personal problems with drugs and his decision last fall to leave the Oregon football program midseason that drew criticism and kept teams from taking him seriously.[/pullquote

However, the Packers took a shot and signed him last spring after his rookie tryout was impressive enough for Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy to bring him to training camp. He was in a battle for a roster spot at a position that was and is still up for grabs among several players, including Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick, Jake Stoneburner, Ryan Taylor, and rookies Richard Rodgers and Justin Perillo.

“It will be another year off football,” Lyerla said Tuesday afternoon. “But it’s pretty different where I’ll be at and what I’ll be doing. So I’ll be part of the Green Bay Packers organization. I feel like there’s a lot of positives to that.”

Those positives are that he will have a year to work within the organization and start over next year. It’s probably unlikely that he would have made the team this year, given the numbers at the position and the fact that he came in as an underdog at the beginning.

“I think I could develop just fine even if I was on IR,” Lyerla said last week. “I think there’s a lot of things I could do just from a football IQ point that would help me a lot. Obviously, I’d be able to be around and go to meetings and stuff, learning the offense and just getting better at my role.”

If all works as projected and Lyerla lands on the Packers IR he gets the opportunity to heal and learn within the system. The Packers, however, will have until wait next year to see if their experiment has worked.

We’ll have to stay tuned on this one.

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