Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 20
Mike McCarthy commented on Colt Lyerla following the decision to wave the former Oregon player on Tuesday (via Vic Ketchman of Packers.com):
“I know Colt was waived injured. That’s his status right now. You have to take it as an opportunity to improve yourself,” McCarthy said on Wednesday.
“What he’s been through in the past, it’s a learning process. I feel like we have him on a good path,” McCarthy said.
The Green Bay Packers waived rookie tight end Colt Lyerla on Tuesday. However, there is a strong chance that the talented undrafted free agent will ultimately remain there.
ESPN's Rob Demovsky provided the details:
According a source, the #Packers have waived Colt Lyerla injured. Likely means an injury settlement and then a possible return later.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) August 19, 2014
Waiving Lyerla injured opens the door for him to return to the practice squad and develop later this year. IR would've mean no practice.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) August 19, 2014
Packers have waived TE Colt Lyerla injured. He said they told him he if he clears waivers he will be placed on full-season IR.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) August 19, 2014
As Demovsky reported last week, Lyerla suffered a torn MCL and PCL. The first-year player expected something resembling what transpired amid the Packers' decision to waive him:
I don't think I'll really find anything out until the cut day. But I know they can't cut me without some kind of injury settlement. If I'm out long enough, then it might be a big enough settlement where it might make more sense for them to just keep me if they're going to spend all that money anyway.
Lyerla had flashes of brilliance in college at Oregon as a tremendous athlete at the tight end position, suggesting he had significant upside in the pros. The emergence of tight ends in passing offenses boded well for him and his professional prospects.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Lyerla ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds, registered a 39-inch vertical leap and bench-pressed 15 repetitions of 225 pounds, per NFL.com.
But off-field issues derailed Lyerla's chances of even being chosen in the 2014 NFL draft. Notable among his missteps was a controversial tweet and a guilty plea to unlawful possession of cocaine. It all culminated in Lyerla leaving Oregon's football program in October 2013 after he'd had just two receptions for 26 yards in two games that season.
Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was impressed with how Lyerla prepared for the NFL after his self-imposed hiatus from the gridiron:
On Colt Lyerla: Done great job getting ready physically. He's a young guy who needs reps. The time off he had has not helped him.— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) August 1, 2014
There is no doubting that Lyerla has upside to contribute in Green Bay down the road. Barring an unforeseen development, he will be able to rehabilitate and stick with the Packers while taking mental reps to grasp the intricate Green Bay offense. He must make a full recovery to capitalize on his physical gifts, though.
The departure of talented tight end Jermichael Finley leaves a spot open at the position. On the other hand, Lyerla is versatile enough to line up as a hybrid in the backfield, an H-back or fullback in the style of Oakland Raiders star Marcel Reece.
With an elite quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, enough playmakers around him and reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy in the backfield, the Packers offense figures to be explosive in 2014. It would be fascinating to see how the lineup would look in the future if Lyerla can get over his injury, stay out of trouble and plug in as an X-factor in the coming years.