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Q&A with Tryout Tight End Colt Lyerla

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Q&A with Tryout Tight End Colt Lyerla

Cheesehead TV was at the NFL Combine in February, where former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla met with the media.

Lyerla is attending the Green Bay Packers rookie minicamp this weekend, where he is taking part on a tryout basis.

Here's what he had to say to the media, where he addressed some of his off-field issues and direction he is going:

Question: What do you need to do to prove you've changed?

Lyerla: "I think the biggest thing for me is just to be honest and to show remorse, where remorse is due, and just do my best to prove that I've changed and I'm changing and I've matured since I made those mistakes."

Question: How have you reacted to what's happened since leaving Oregon?

Lyerla: "As much as I hate to say it, I think some of the mishaps that happened and me getting in trouble probably is the best thing that's happened to me because it really put me at a point in place and gave me time to self reflect and just really helped me realize exactly what I want out of life and what I need to do to get it."

Question: What steps have you taken to turn things around?

Lyerla: "I think the biggest thing was just making the choice to move away from home and get myself in a place to where I'm only doing positive things and just continuing to stay on the right track."

Question: Was there a time when the game became less important?

Lyerla: "No, I wouldn't say that, the game's always been super important to me, and it's something I want to do as a career and something I want to do for as long as I can, so no, that wasn't it."

Question: Who have you talked to for guidance?

Lyerla: "I mean, there was a number of people that I talked to, but mainly it was just about having a big sit-down with my family and just coming to an agreement with myself as far as the negative things I was doing and what I need to do to change."

Question: What did people say to you?

Lyerla: "I'd rather not discuss that right now, but just everything from the time that those things that happened until now has been a complete change and I'm happy about it. I'm happy that I was able to get out of that situation."

Question: What was the low point?

Lyerla: "Definitely the lowest point for me was getting in trouble and having it be completely public. That was just a real life-changer for me, and it really humbled me, and showed me what I need to do from here on out."

Question: How do you ensure things like that don't happen again?

Lyerla: "The biggest thing is just not hanging out with the people that I was hanging out with before, concentrating and focusing only on football and just staying positive with it."

Question: Had much contact have you had with the Oregon coaching staff since he left?

Lyerla: "I've had not as much contact as I would like, but it's grown more and more by each day, and I think if I do the right things, then I'll come out of this and be able to go back to Oregon in good faith."

Question: How do you get across that you've changed in 15 minutes when you interview with a team?

Lyerla: "I'd say that I've put myself in a position where my back's against the wall, to a point that if I don't do everything perfect and the right way, that I won't be able to play football, let alone be successful in any shape and form."

Question: What about Chip Kelly?

Lyerla: "No, me and Chip have not been in contact."

Question: How do you think your versatility helps you as a football player?

Lyerla: "I think that's one of the advantages I bring in this tight end group, is versatility, and of course, I'd love to be able to do that for any team at the next level, but whatever the team needs me to do, I'll do it, whether that's special teams or just regular blocking tight end. Whatever it is, I'm going to do it."

Question: Is running back something you enjoy?

Lyerla: "Yeah, definitely, that was a lot of fun, so sure."

Question: Are your legal issues resolved?

Lyerla: "Yes, they have. Everything is out on the table and it's all up to me now to make sure I do the right things and stay on the right path."

Question: What do you have to do in order to be redeemed?

Lyerla: "I have to successfully complete everything that was mandated to me by the courts, and hopefully get signed to a team and doall the right things to stay on the team."

Question: When did it sink in that you may not play football or your career may be over?

Lyerla: "Probably the night I spent in jail. That was huge for me, and like I said, it gave me time to self-reflect and realize that's a place I never want to be again."

Question: How long were you in jail for?

Lyerla: "I only spent one day in jail, and the rest I served a road crew."

Question: How long on road crew?

Lyerla: "It was 10 days, including the day in jail."

Question: "How did it affect your training?

Lyerla: "Since I got in trouble, I didn't get to get out of Eugene as fast as I would have liked, so I only had a couple weeks to train, but I'd say that I'm light and athletic right now, and hopefully that will show in some of the speed drills. As it gets closer to minicamp, I plan to put on more weight and get back to where I was when I was at Oregon."

Question: How much weight did you lose?

Lyerla: "I lost about 12 pounds."

Question: So you were around 238?

Lyerla: "No I was more around 255."

Question: Have you taken part in any speed performance camps?

Lyerla: "Yes, I've been training at API down in Arizona."

Question: Do you have a mentor?

Lyerla: "I mean, I mainly just lean on my big brothers. They've done a good job helping me through this difficult time in my life."

Question: What went into him leaving the team?

Lyerla: "I can't really say too much about that, but all I can really say is it's something I deeply regret and it's a mistake I'll have to live with for the rest of my life."

Photo: Former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla at the NFL Combine by Brian Carriveau.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (23) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

If this kid as half as good as he looks in action this will be a steal. The next thing is him keeping his act together but wow this kid is good.

L's picture

He's saying all the right things which is good.

tm_inter's picture

He said everything he should have said. Now let's see that he backs his words with actions. I have hope for him to come good.

bluskerj's picture

After reading what Aaron Hernendez said after he signed his big contract (and after he killed two people), it's hard to put your faith in this guy. I'm not saying he's killed anyone or on that level. However, at the most innocent level, this guy could take a position from someone who would give there left *** to play in the NFL. Everyone loves a good second chance story (a la Jolly), and I'm hoping this guy can keep his head clear for the next few years. But I don't know if I can trust him enough to let another guy with less talent, but more desire, walk.

Right now, the Packers are thinking, he could be Aaron Hernendez, or he could be....Aaron Hernendez

4thand1's picture

That's why a place like GB is good for him. Hernendez was a gangster. The Pats took a chance because every team knew it. He did some coke and got caught. I'm sure there's plenty of others that did and didn't get caught. These kids think they're untouchable and are pampered, when a lot of them need a good kick in the ass. I think the reward will be worth the risk. Its not like he would be replacing any pro bowlers.

Nick Perry's picture

I agree, Green Bay would be the perfect place for him. He's a kid, kids do stupid things and he's already paid a price for what he's done. This is really of little risk and high reward for the Packers. I hope he impresses the coaching staff and signs.

Stroh's picture

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.

4thand1's picture

Yep, all the gangsters and drug kingpins sit outside the local establishments preying on players. Been to GB many times and after games. Everyone pretty much left the players alone. Its a numbers game, there's a hell of a lot more things to distract you in a major city. In a small town you're almost forced to keep your nose clean. Maybe that's why Hornung and Mcgee had a little place to party in Appleton.

Stroh's picture

That's not at all what I'm saying. Sheesh. I did say that there is less to get in trouble with in case you didn't read it. But the vices are all in GB to get in trouble if your not careful, which Lyerla has shown he certainly hasn't been in the past.

GB is a fishbowl and the players are still very noticable. And there are still plenty of people that might take advantage of him or get him off path if he's not careful. It only takes meeting one wrong person...

Trust me there are plenty ways to get in trouble in GB. Its not like there aren't a plethora of bars and drinking, and drugs and women to a lesser degree to get him in trouble... My family still lives in GB and have told me that the gang population has risen dramatically in the past 3-5 yrs.

4thand1's picture

Yeah its true, you an get in trouble anywhere. Even in my small town, I'm amazed at all the shit you can get into. The bottom line is, its all up to him. He has said all the right things, actions speak louder than words. I would have him sign a very strict contract at the league minimum if he even gets a contract. He has to prove himself. The draft should have been a huge wake up call for him. What I don't understand is, WTF was he doing at the combine?

Stroh's picture

As an udfa, its a given that he'll get the league minimum. You can try to put all kinds of clauses in a contract, but at the league minimum they mean very little.

I would think the fact he wasn't drafted at all, should tell him that he's on a very short leash w/ any team that would sign him.

It is all on him to prove himself. Both on and off the field.

Clay Zombo's picture

Im all for adding him to the 90 and seeing what the man is made of in training camp. His talent earns him that much, its up to him what he does with the opportunity. I commend Thompson for giving the guy a shot.

Kinda reminds me of Chris Cooley from the Skins. Landing a guy like that as a tryout player would be a gift from the football god if you ask me.

Hopefully the Packers brain washing machine works on this guy, eh Greggy...

aManOfTheNorth's picture

Well if there ever was a good place for a troubled young man in the NFL it would be in Green Bay. Just judging from the interviews with all the draft choices, Packers continually try to bring in more than just good football players.

Stroh's picture

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.

As for GB being a great place for him, 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 of 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 to some degree and 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.

aManOfTheNorth's picture

I refer to the team not the town. I personally do not know these players, but, again, judging from the interviews and community service, etc. from leading players like Cobb and Rodgers...I am under the impression they may be able to help a troubled young man....

All he needs is love.

Stroh's picture

Sure they have some players that are good role models, but Lyerla has to want to be led by them and accept the mentorship. And given his history, it doesn't look like he is all that willing. And its not like he can't find trouble in GB if he's not careful.

Like I said, if the Packers are going to take a chance on him they need to have a plan in place to help him. But he's also got to be willing to accept the help.

hump's picture

lyerla was hands down,the best te coming out of this draft class.absolutely no downside to bringing him aboard.he slips up,he's gone.if his word is true,he will be thompsons 2nd greatest steal next to arod. if johnny jolly got 3 shots,we can sure as hell give this kid a chance to straighten up. he's a better athlete than ebron and faster. if he is clean,mark my words,he will be getting regular snaps by week 8.we have no te on roster with anywhere near his skill set

Stroh's picture

That's not how the Packers operate tho. Its against their philosophy, not to mention history, to give a young player a chance and then just cut him at the first sign of trouble.

That's why I said, if they sign him they should be in it for the long haul and give him help to stay on the straight and narrow.

Lyerla is all a talented athlete right now, he is far from being ready to be the starting TE. Bostic has nearly the same athleticism as Lyerla does. He also has no off field baggage and has actually shown some NFL talent. Lyerla hasn't... Everyone knows he's very talented athletically, but his skills as a TE need quite a bit of work to develop.

Lyerla , 6'4 242, 4.61 40, 39 in vertical and 10'8 broad jump. Very little college production or experience for that matter.

Bostic, 6'3 243 at his pro day (listed at 250 now), 4.59 40, 36 in vertical and 10'1 broad and good times in the shuttle and cone drills. Has 2 years in the Packers system.

I would say that makes Bostic nearly an equal to Lyerla athletically. And for now that's the ONLY thing we have to go on.

JimTaylor31's picture

I'll have to agree with Stroh on this one. There just isn't a large enough body of work from Lyerla to say that he is better than Bostic or as good as Bostic. The fact is he had a grand total of 34 career receptions at Oregon with an average of just over 1 per game. He does have talent and potential but not really a proven commodity. I'm OK if Ted decides to give him a shot but I'm not getting my expectations too high even he does clean up his act.

4thand1's picture

What about the red zone? 11 td's isn't anything to sneeze at.

Stroh's picture

If that's all you need him for, you can go find a 6'10 NBA player and pay him the league min for a rookie. Just sayin... Has to show that he brings more to the table and I think he does. Packers red zone problems last year were more a matter of being out of sync early and then Rodgers being out than anything else. Get Rodgers back, add Lacy and the RZ offense will be fine. I don't feel they lack for red zone targets.

JimTaylor31's picture

Like I say, he may be a good prospect and worth looking at but his body of work to date doesn't really jump out at me. He has potential. The definition of potential: "it's what you call somebody who hasn't really done much of anything yet."

nypenncheesehead's picture

I cannot and will not cast a stone. There was a time when I was a young man... did stupid things... things that i regret, and, fortunately, wasn't under the microscope that this kid is under. I made a career of working in a unique prison... one that actually rehabilitates young men who made some bad choices... rehabilitating them via a program that started each day with an intense physical fitness program, then doing community service work for local non-profit groups and assisting municipalities and the state conservation department with much needed manpower, returning after work to a camp offering education to inmates who, at an average, had a third grade education, and a counseling and community enhancement program that not only touched the lost souls that were incarcerated, but also staff involved in the process. The designer of the program deserves so much credit for the enactment of these elements into her program for the transformation of lives...yet, what I believe was the most important element employed was the STRUCTURE and DISCIPLINE of the program... for, we can teach all we want to teach, and if the ears are not tuned to what is being taught, the benefit is lessened. This kid made some horrible decisions...said some horrible things. But... I am convinced that Green Bay could be home for a young man buy into a program of structure and discipline and receive the support necessary through a team who was sensitive to Johnny Jolly's issues and a community as tight-knit as Green Bay. Give the kid a shot. The rewards far exceed the investment.

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