Packers Offer Try-Out to Colt Lyerla All Green Bay Packers All the Time

Packers beat reporter Rob Demovsky just tweeted a pic of the Packers rookie orientation with one surprising name.  One of the more interesting topics that hasn’t seen much news coverage is where former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla ended up and now we have an answer; namely Lyerla likely didn’t get single offer as a undrafted rookie free agent and now must fight for a spot as a try-out player with the Packers. He will wear #49o during the rookie orientation.

On the football field, there aren’t many tight ends that I enjoyed watching more before the draft; at 6’4″ and 242 lbs, Lyerla is perhaps even more physically gifted than Eric Ebron, the first tight end drafted with the 10th pick by the Lions who is often compared to Vernon Davis himself.  Lyerla tested through the roof at the combine, being among the leaders in the 40 yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump for tight ends.  Lyerla also offers an interesting blend athleticism with the speed to split safeties and outrun linebackers but also the strength to be an aggressive run blocker.  Lyerla also has versatility as a H-back/RB, logging in 7 rushing attempts for 63 yards and a touchdown against Arizona in 2013.  While Lyerla is definitely raw in regards to route running and technique as a receiver and blocker, the physical tools are definitely there in abundance to make a truly complete tight end.

Naturally, players with Lyerla’s physical attributes don’t usually fall out of the draft, let alone not get signed as a rookie free agent and unfortunately Lylera’s positives on the field are overshadowed by the negatives off the field.  First off, Lyerla left the Oregon in middle of the 2013 season for “personal reasons” and was later arrested for cocaine possession.  Furthermore, Lyerla had a very troubled childhood and is often described as prone to emotional outbursts and immaturity.  It should be mentioned that 6 out of 7 ALLGBP staff writers had Lyerla on their 2014 NFL DRAFT “FUBAR” Board (i.e. WOULD NOT DRAFT), however as a try out player who doesn’t even get a contract, this is still a very safe move for the Packers.

With the Packers, Lyerla has found himself with perhaps one of the best places to try to resurrect his career and stabilize his personal life; the Packers have already dealt with players with immaturity (Jermichael Finley) and drug issues (Johnny Jolly) and the Packers are a more tight knit organization that can likely protect their players better than teams in bigger markets like New York or Miami.  Finally, with the tight end position clearly in flux with Finley’s health still on the line and not much depth behind him, Lyerla has a chance to get on the field quickly, which might in turn help stabilize his personal life, much like it did with Jolly.

In the end, Lyerla’s future really rests in his own hands; the Packers have invested nothing in him and it’s up to him to prove that he’s worth a roster spot and a contract.  Here’s hoping that Lyerla can use football to find a life.


Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s


83 thoughts on “Packers Offer Try-Out to Colt Lyerla

  1. It is nice to have an organization that can really shelter these guys the way Green Bay has. Makes you proud to cheer for a team that can take in troubled players and actually work to better their lives in addition to their football careers. Best of luck to him in figuring everything out, whether he’s a Packer or not.

    1. I agree, Mojo, I really do. But if anyone can put the right type of counselors and mentors in this guy’s life, I think it’s the Green Bay Packers. Plus, the Pack could put all sorts of liability-based contract clauses in his offer sheet, much like the Arizona Cardinals did with FS Tyrann Mathieu, a.k.a. the honey badger. I know Colt Lyerla is not the typical “Packers player prototype” as far as conduct goes, but at least he deserves a shot. As Johnny Jolly and many others in the NFL have proved, people can change…

    2. If he is serious about reforming, this could be a great place for him. Green Bay has a lot less temptation than bigger cities. He would be more likely to hang out with team mates that share common goals than friends that may mislead. If he makes the team they will have to keep an eye on him, but it worked for Koran Robinson and Jolly.

      1. That’s the big if, and I almost believe that the Packers don’t buy it or else they would have signed him to a contract (they have the money and the space). I think they feel like they can get a better feeling for the guy with the offseason the n maybe they will feel more comfortable keeping him.

        1. I think it likely that the Packers are playing it cool for PR reasons, too. A lot of that is a comfort level as you say, but the Packers are a very image-conscious organization that tries to play up character. Even if this guy is clean and committed, bringing him on board this way is both under the radar and makes Lyerla an underdog for people to root for.

    3. If he is serious about reforming, this could be a great place for him. Green Bay has a lot less temptation than bigger cities. He would be more likely to hang out with team mates that share common goals than friends that may mislead. If he makes the team they will have to keep an eye on him, but it worked for Koran Robinson and Jolly.

      1. I beg to differ. I’m from GB, was born and raised there. There isn’t quite as much for players to get in trouble with, but all the same vices can be found, make no mistake about it. And GB is a fishbowl! EVERYONE knows when the players are out and they are easily recognized by all. That makes them easy targets. At least in a big city, players can go unnoticed and to some degree blend in. That is certainly not the case in GB. Players are easy targets in GB, which is one of the many reasons the Packers generally only take players w/ clean backgrounds. Its a mistake to think that GB is smaller and assume a person w/ bad character won’t get in trouble in GB.

        1. This is an interesting point you bring up, while Packers players are definitely more likely to be noticed in a smaller town than in a big city, on the flip side there are less total people in general so maybe not as many people notice at all.

      2. What the Packers can provide is guidance, but if these guys don’t want to be clean, they’ve got cars, money and the ability to travel. There’s not much you can do if they don’t want help.

        1. Stroh makes a good point about life in GB. Everyone knows when a Packer is in the house. Personally I wouldn’t want that. So Colt, find a “sponsor” on the team (Johnny Jolly would be perfect if he’s there, keep your head in the playbook and make a contribution to a great team, town, and legend.

  2. I know most fans are excited by this. Based on ability, he would be a slam-dunk to make the roster. But are you willing to put on your team someone who has such a high likelihood of blowing up on you? Maybe not right away, but eventually. This dude is just unstable.

    1. I agree, Mojo, I really do. But if anyone can put the right type of counselors and mentors in this guy’s life, I think it’s the Green Bay Packers. Plus, the Pack could put all sorts of liability-based contract clauses in his offer sheet, much like the Arizona Cardinals did with FS Tyrann Mathieu, a.k.a. the honey badger. I know Colt Lyerla is not the typical “Packers player prototype” as far as conduct goes, but at least he deserves a shot. As Johnny Jolly and many others in the NFL have proved, people can change…

      1. You bet Lyerla’s contract is going to be a mile long; especially considering he wasn’t draft nor signed immediately after the draft. Lyerla and his agent know they have no leverage and will likely have to sign a incentive ladened deal with probably every protection clause ever written in it.

      2. People can change JR, and if Colt L is willing to accept that responsibility and the work that comes with it, he deserves that chance. Personally I abhor the comments he made about Sandy Hook. That’s the danger of the social-media world we live in. I hope for his sake he turns it around. Regardless of whether he plays football or not, I hope he does the work to turn around and have a good life.

    2. I would say that it’s not going to be a very big risk. Basically if he makes the team as a try out player he’s going to sign a minimum contract for 3 years with essentially no guaranteed money, just like any other undrafted rookie. During those 3 years, he’s basically free and cutting him will not effect the salary cap in any noticeable way. If you are talking about potentially tarnishing the Green Bay Packer franchise, I wouldn’t worry too much about that either; there are plenty of players just like him all over the league and football is simply too popular for stuff like this to really make a difference.

      The worse case scenario would be something like what happen to the Patriots with Hernandez where he get to his second contract, but the Patriots look like they are going to get all their money back and you know for a fact that Russ Ball is going to write a contract with all sorts of protection clauses for Lyerla.

      1. Tom Hobbes, you should be a philosopher.
        I also see this as an opportunity for the Club and Lyeria to show how good they are.
        I hope this kid pulls through! It would be the steal of the 2014 Draft if he played to his potential, for a nothing pick.

        PS, the bears still SUCK!

        1. I find myself thinking that if Lyerla and Adrian Hubbard both have their heads on straight, the Packers could have found two impact players without burning a draft pick.

          That’s too good to be true, isn’t it?

          1. Possibly, I’d temper my expectations for the moment, especially for Lyerla. Keep in mind he has to make one of the 3 spots left on the 90 man roster first and then can worry about making the 53. Lyerla might also be a PS candidate, which would give the Packers more time to work with him without having to really pay him.

            1. I agree. If Lyerla doesn’t make the 53 man roster, the Packers could always stash him on the practice squad.

      2. The Packers are an organization that does right by players and has a pretty squeaky clean image, that they work hard to maintain. They would be taking a hit to that image if they take a chance on Lyerla and even more so if the screws up again. Its not in the Packers MO to sign a guy and cut him loose if he messes up once. They would have to be in it for the long haul.

        If they Packers were to sign Lyerla, they should be in it for the long haul and have a very specific plan on how to keep him on the straight and narrow. Otherwise, I don’t see that he is worth taking that risk. Just taking him on the roster and hoping for the best isn’t really the Packers style. Look at Jolly as an example.

        I’m not saying they shouldn’t sign him, but its got to be a carefully planned decision and IMO should give him all the help they can to keep him straight and be in it for the long haul.

        Lyerla is a very talented athlete w/ next to no college production or experience. He would very much be a developmental prospect, albeit one w/ a very high ceiling. His skills are not at all refined and he might be as much as 2-3 years from being ready. He’s even less mature than Finley was and much less unpolished, but his potential is similar to Finley’s. However he is also a huge risk from the legal/mental/drug side of the equation.

        1. The Packers could always stash Lyerla on the Practice Squad as a developmental project to polish & train up. Plus, I’m positive the Packers would still guarantee he has the same mandatory counseling clauses and specific liability-based stipulations that would make sure he sticks around as well as make it a no-risk signing. Keep Lyerla on a tight leash and just watch what our coaches can do with this incredibly talented guy. Just think about the upside of having Lyerla catching passes from none other than the best QB in the league, Aaron Rodgers.

        2. I would say that this is a move that falls outside the Packers MO, as you mentioned, and hence you can’t assume that they are just going to follow SOP with Lyerla. He’s radioactive and the Packers know it, I’m not convinced that they’d really be willing to sink a lot of money in him even if he is successful. Also keep in mind that they could sign him to a standard 3 year undrafted rookie contract and he blows it up, the Packers still have the option of restricted free agency and if the Packers are still not convinced they can trade him.

  3. I asked for this earlier in the week in a comment here but doubted it would ever happen. pleasantly surprised but it does go with the Rodgers pick to kind of smell of desperation at the TE position doesn’t it???

    1. I would say no; if the Packers were truly desperate for a tight end, they would have signed him to a contract instead of asking him to try out. I’m not sure about the specifics, but I assume try out players are only protected from injury and are technically still free agents, so if another team wanted to sign Lyerla now they still could.

      1. maybe desperate was wrong word, how about a little bit nervous about TE, thats better.

        1. Personally, I’m not sure that the Packers rely all that much on the tight end position. Really with Finley being injured so often and being inconsistent in general, the last time Rodgers really had a big playmaker at tight end was the back end of 2009. The Packers have done pretty well without a star tight end for quite a while.

      2. Desperate is a desperate word.
        I think there are more things involved in the Packers TE situation than you can dream of with your Jermichael Finley TE, and also imagine in a Rodgers or Lyeria world.
        That said, I think Stoneburner is out, cause he doesn’t pull it on Special Teams.
        Too bad, next up….

    2. I don’t think so at all. It smells like TT is giving what would have been one of the best TE in the country a tryout. No one came knocking on Colts door, not in the draft or as a UDFA. The Packers gave him a tryout and that’s it. Personally I hope they sign him. Green Bay would be the perfect place for him. Like everybody else said, less temptation. For all we know that’s what he’s thinking too. Maybe he did see the light, maybe he does understand he won’t get to many chances. Jolly proved last year people can change, he just needed a chance to prove it. I hope he dazzles the hell out of them and is signed.

      1. Oh my God!

        The Packers just were given the Greatest pick in the world!
        No other team picked him!
        Wow, we are lucky!
        Call Vegas, We are a sure thing!
        Get your head out of your ass.
        That is not how American Football works.

        1. Hey easy there killer, besides you’re already way off, there wasn’t a PICK involved!!! I won’t insult you like you to me or call you names, your comment showed us all exactly what you really know.

  4. The Packers organization has a reputation of passing on these head cases. TT what are you doing? Damn, I hope TT isn’t becoming a drug dealer. Seriously?

    1. If Thompson actually wanted to become a drug dealer, I’d say Lyerla is a poor example to follow since he got caught. Also, there’s ZERO risk involved in letting him try out; he’s not under contract, he has no guaranteed money and they only money the Packers are spending on him is likely a uniform and gatorade. I’m not sure they even pay for room and board so chances are good Lyerla is actually paying to play for the Packers right now.

      Finally, fans seem to forget that the Packers are made up of human beings at the end of the day; Paul Horning was suspend a year for gambling, Mark Chmura and James Lofton were accused of sexual assault, Johnny Jolly was a purple drank addict and Brandon Underwood assaulted his wife after the Super Bowl ring ceremony. Packer people are still people.

      1. I say – let him play until he breaks his Friggin’ neck!

        Who’s with me here?

        Someones gotta have some Balls!

        1. You certainly are what your name implies. Now go comment on somewhere else. PLEASE

    1. That’s the big if, also the Packers aren’t likely to coddle Lyerla the same way as they did Finley; Finley was a draft pick and obviously has a much cleaner record and already showed a lot of potential before becoming the TGIFinley we all know and love. My worry is that if Lyerla doesn’t see success immediately if that won’t cause him to wander astray, yes Green Bay is a smaller city but it’s not like you can’t find drugs there (or in any other part of the country for that matter)

      1. I completely agree with everything you said, Thomas. The choice is up to him, so many life choices. Indeed, you can find drugs anywhere. I think the Packers are going to try to keep him on a short leash & truly teach him the “Packer Way”… Plus, let’s not forget many of the coaches, outside speakers, counselors and mentors who can put him under their wing, so to speak. I watched some one-on-one draft-time video coverage of Colt Lyerla. He was saying all the right things to the NFL teams out there, and he does sound like he’s really a changed man, making strides in the right direction, dropping the bad influences and people in his life, that he’s really been humbled, etc. We’ll see how he does in tryouts, and I think he’ll perform incredibly well. The real question is what he’ll be like off the camera, behind the scenes… So many of these “kids” that are coming into the NFL had a huge “PRIDE” issue because of all the prior success they’ve achieved. What happened to Colt is humbling. Now it really depends on how they handle the game of life that’s paramount…

        1. I wouldn’t put much stock into what Lyerla said during the pre-draft process. He (just like every other NFL hopeful) was coached on what to say, how to say it, how to act to difficult questions, etc. It’s only the foolish (read AJ McCarron), who don’t play the role of the “golden boy” college football player. Also to put it the other way, what about his pride if he becomes successful? Some players let their success get to their heads, some don’t, which do you think Lyerla will be like?

    2. Attitude, Mindset…? What are you a Masseause? Quit rubbing me the wrong way!
      Now if you give me the happy ending …
      Colt L is a L-O-S-E-R!
      Suck my Dick Ahole!

  5. Correction: “bring a lot to the table and the overall tight end positional group…”

  6. On a similar thread at APC, someone made the statement that GB should now sign Johnny Jolly so Lyerla has a mentor of sorts. Jolly’s been there and done that. His presence would not hurt Lyerla should he make the final 53 and provide some depth on the d-line at the same time.

    1. I don’t know that it makes sense to sign Jolly as a player, since he is still rehabbing an injury that the last player to have (Richardson) wasn’t ready for the field until November of the following year. Even a PuP player counts against the 90 man limit, so it burns a roster spot even if they still wanted Jolly as a player at age 33.
      IIRC Jolly’s injury was a little later in the year, so it might take even longer to recover.

      But I think it makes perfect sense to hire Jolly in the player relations department top act as a mentor to some of these kids.

    2. I think the real issue behind Jolly at the moment is his neck, we haven’t heard much in terms of medical updates, partially because Jolly is not a big name player, but nevertheless, I assume things are going poorly, cause if they were going well Jolly’s agent (who works for the NFP) would be telling everyone.

  7. I sure hope this guy gave the Packers some reason to believe that he has seen the light. I’m OK with it as long as it is on a ZERO TOLERANCE – one big mistake and bye-bye.

    1. I’m sure he’s well aware that he can’t slip up in anyway, the fact that he’s a tryout player is testament to that. For the Packers, its high reward, low risk. Even if the Packers decide he’s not worth a second contract but is the next Jimmy Graham, that should make great trade bait.

    1. There is a little risk if he’s on the team and creates problems. I’m not talking monetarily, but to the teams rep. Think the Pat’s have caught a lot of flak for the Hernandez thing.

      Ironically, I found this comparison when researching him; “Lyerla has the athletic ability for the next level to be used as an H-back and play some fullback. He could continue to run the ball in short-yardage situations. Lyerla has amazingly quick feet to cut and move as a ball-carrier. Offensive coordinators should have fun using him in a variety of ways and catching defenses by surprise. Lyerla could be a tight end who is similar to former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was called a swiss army knife because of his dangerous versatility.”

      Hopefully, when all is said and done, that’s the only comparison between Henandez and Lyerla.

      1. “Hopefully, when all is said and done, that’s the only comparison between Henandez and Lyerla.”

        Amen, brother.

      2. Is it just me, or is any expression having to do with a weapon kind of creepy when applied to Aaron Hernandez? Even “Swiss army knife”…

      3. Did the Pats really take a lot of flack for Hernandez? I don’t think they are any less popular, any more profitable or viewed less positively since the Hernandez fiasco went down. Do you think of the Pats as a lesser team for having him? Winning covers a lot of sins.

  8. Let’s not forget that Green Bay did draft Ray Nitschke who also had a troubled childhood and considered immature and prone to emotional outbursts. Lombardi worked with Ray to channel his emotions through his play on the field and we all know the results. Important to note that Nitschke never had trouble with any drugs. In any case, given that there is very little risk to the Packers, this could be a great move if they can help Lyerla straighten out his life and become productive on the field. I am proud of the Packers for giving Colt a shot. I hope that it works out for everyone and that we have yet another reason to be proud of the Pack and proud of Lyerla. Go Pack! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Thanks Since’61. Ray was also one of the nicest men OFF the field. I think sometimes people forget these are KIDS. Sometimes kids do stupid things, but hopefully they learn from those mistakes. How great would it be if Colt is one of “Those Kids”, one that learned from his mistakes.
      Had this kid not made those mistakes he would have been one of the best receiving TE coming out. There’s no risk here, just possible rewards, especially when added to a already explosive offense and the best QB in the game. I’m with Since’61 and proud of the Packers and proud to be a Packers fan!

  9. Not too worried about his issues after watching the rc interviews from locker room, seems like they really drafted a bunch of humble smart young men, I was pretty impressed with the interviews, very likable group, its gotta rub off on everyone doesn’t it?

  10. Lyerla could be the Vontaze Burfict of this years draft. Love to see the Packers give this guy an opportunity. No risk and the reward could be through the roof. Love this, regardless of whether he makes the team or not.

  11. Wow,
    Just watched film on this guy. He’s a freaking beast on the field. Most explosive and powerful TE I’ve seen in a long time. He hurdles defenders. He drags 3-4 guys 5 yards after every catch. He 4.59 40 and 39″ vertical. Are you kidding me? Catches ball well in traffic unlike Rodgers and is more explosive. I feel sorry for defenders. Hope he shapes up and works out. I have a good feeling about this.

  12. Pretty sure he threatened every GM in the league and TT is the only one that took him seriously…

    1. Yes, you threaten your future bosses of a multi-billion dollar company when you have no leverage. I really hope you tried this personally.

  13. I hear they’re going to turn him into a OLB and use him exclusively in the ‘psycho’ alignment.

    1. This is the first I’ve heard of this. I don’t think Lyerla has ever played on defense, but who knows.

  14. Honestly, if you can deal with him, he’s not a Diva, just a party guy. You could make something out of a sows ear.
    Go Pack Go!

  15. I hear they are going to use him as the home field advantage guy.
    He may show up, or not?
    Place your bets now.
    What a waste of talent!

  16. If I remember correctly, Hernandez’s psychological profile had some red flags regarding tendencies toward violence that were verified by his actions. I wonder if Lyeria has undergone similar tests and if these were available to the NFL teams.

    1. Definitely. He’s probably undergone multiple psychological tests. I’d bet that he’s gotten a positive one from an independent psychiatrist through his agent and I’d bet the Packers did their own as well. He’s in no position to refuse since no one will take him if he doesn’t comply to every one of their wishes. If you are a likely high draft pick, you can use your leverage to not do certain things (like Clowney not doing private workouts), but the lower you go, the more you have to do to prove your worth a shot.

  17. Be nice if anyone covering the RC workout/tryout yesterday actually did some reporting and talked about how Lyerla looked moving around, catching the ball, and interacting with teammates and coaches.

    1. I’m not entirely sure, but I believe a lot of the rookie orientation is closed to the public, and a lot of it might be closed off to the media as well.

  18. Betting on this guy making it is like putting your money on Pablo del Monte to win the Preakness. It could happen, but not likely. But as the handicappers say “nothing ventured, nothing gained”
    Good luck lyeria, the balls in your court.

    1. True, but this situation is like saying someone will pay you $100 to bet on Pablo del Monte to win the Preakness and you win $100,000 if he does. It could happen, but not likely, but then again what do you have to lose? I’m pretty sure Lyerla is spending more money on the rookie orientation than the Packers are spending on him.

  19. It’s a low cost/high yield move. A name came to my mind while reading this: Vontaze Burfict. Had some problems, went undrafted and now a Pro Bowler so let’s see if Green Bay can turn Lyerla around.

  20. Just the type of tight end I wanted us to get. With Lacy and a real run game I honestly would rather give him a try even with a roster spot. Adding that dimension would only complement the passsing game My god Cobb up the middle and having to cover Jordy and a TE like that….opens up everything and brings more physicality to the offense. That is what we have missed in games in the playoffs. Give him a chance, he is not a murderer although you would think he is a serial criminal the way many look at it. At least he owned up to it. He made a mistake, a big one but noone is perfect.

    1. I know its fantasy land but could you imagine that full house backfield with Finley and Lyerla lined up and Lacy as the deep back, teams wouldn’t know whether to ***t or go blind…

    2. Keep in mind while he has all the physical tools to be successful, he still isn’t all that great of a football player. From all accounts he ran a pretty gimmicky route tree at oregon and he’s not a technician, meaning there are a lot of things that he needs to refine. He’s definitely got the talent to be one of the best tight ends in the NFL, but he’s really raw at the moment.

  21. But for the grace of god…Someone mentioned that these are just kids- how right you are. Kids don’t always handle things in the right way. Its part of growing up. I’ve done my share of dumb stuff that could have gone very wrong. Glad to see him get a chance.

    1. Anybody crunched the roster numbers, I wonder if you figured in the established vets/players and the draft picks, how many roster spots are even open. I know its kind of hard as we don’t know about injured players. I don’t see Ted cutting any draft picks other than maybe last rounders, anyone know the highest TT pick to get cut and not make the 53 man roster??????

      1. I think there are always roster spots open for players who can truly outplay others.

      2. I think the Packers have roughly 3 new undrafted rookies on their roster every year; off the top of my head last year Mulumba, Banjo and Lane Taylor were undrafted free agents. Also keep in mind scouts roughly agree that the bottom 3rd of every roster is essentially the same talent wise; if they really liked Lyerla but had to find a spot for him with the tight ends, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Quarless or Ryan Taylor being released.

  22. I think this kid could be the answer to replacing Finley and moving on. He has the size/speed that Finley does, bet’s on he can catch better too! Talk among Packers people is the Packers WILL sign Lyerla to a contract, would NOT surprise me to see him pushing for starting position soon.

    1. Finley has a bigger frame and a longer wingspan but Lyerla definitely has a lot more speed. I frankly would be a little surprised if Lyerla was signed to a contract right now; he’s already at the rookie orientation so there’s no need to pay him for that and they are still going through all their try out players. I think it would definitely surprise me if he was pushing for a starting position soon, he’s incredibly raw and and needs to work on both his receiving and blocking skills.

  23. I’m glad to see that not near as much vitriol has been directed toward this young man on this site as opposed to the comments over at CHTV. Personally, I don’t think leaving Oregon or getting busted for coke should brand Colt for life. If he’s determined not to repeat his mistakes and become a decent person I’m glad he’s getting a chance. An untold number of people have accomplished great things coming from far more serious issues.

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