When last we heard from Colt Lyerla, the gifted tight end who was dismissed from Oregon last year, he was at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis answering a slew of tough questions about character concerns NFL clubs had for him. Now he's getting a shot as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers.
Lyerla was invited to the Packers' rookie minicamp, where he'll try to stand out among the 58 rookies competing this weekend.
"Colt is just like the other 58 -- he's one of the 58. He's done things in his college career, and we're fully aware of everything that every prospect has done on and off the field," said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. "And with that, we felt that he's earned the opportunity as a tryout player to earn a spot to go to training. I'm excited to watch all these guys."
In the weeks after his dismissal from Oregon for a violation of team rules last year, Lyerla was charged with cocaine possession and compounded the problem by running from police. At the combine, Lyerla said he hoped to get a chance to play for his former Oregon coach, Chip Kelly, with the Philadelphia Eagles.
After a brief and sparsely attended pro day performance, held at Portland State because he was not welcomed back to work out at Oregon, Lyerla went unchosen in last week's NFL draft. The Packers were one of three teams, by the way, that showed up to Portland State.
While Lyerla's character history presents a major issue for the NFL, his track record as a player and athlete are difficult to ignore. At 6-4 and 242 pounds, he ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at the combine and was considered one of the best athletes at his position available in the draft. In 2012, his last full season at Oregon under Kelly, he caught 25 passes for 392 yards and six touchdowns.