Though Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla was invited to the NFL combine and performed well there, he went undrafted earlier this month. Most likely, that's because his résumé was littered with red flags, particularly with a guilty plea of cocaine possession.
But after trying out with the Packers during their rookie minicamp this past weekend, the team signed Lyerla on Monday.
It's a small risk for Green Bay, which might not have the services of tight end Jermichael Finley, who is injured and a free agent. Because while Lyerla has talent, the 6-foot-4, 242-pounder also has plenty of transgressions in his past.
As CBSSports.com wrote on his draft profile, "[He] abruptly quit the team on Oct. 6, calling his choice to leave the Ducks as a "personal decision." This occurred after missing the Ducks' Sept. 14 game against Tennessee for what Lyerla later called the stomach flu but head coach Mark Helfrich characterized simply as "circumstances." Arrested Oct. 23, 2013 when undercover police discovered inhaling a "white powdery substance" inside a car. Lyerla later admitted the substance was cocaine. This was hardly Lyerla's only run-in with police. He had his driver's license suspended Oct. 11, 2013, after receiving four driving tickets in the previous 24 months."
But Lyerla also has athleticism, and his jumping ability in the leadup to the draft was lauded by many. At the combine, he said he knew he might have a tough time earning a pro job.
"I put myself in a position where my back's against the wall, to the point that if I don't do everything perfect and the right way, I won't be able to play football, let alone be successful in any shape or form," Lyerla said in February, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Said Packers coach Mike McCarthy on Friday: "He's one of the 58 [rookies]. He's done things in his college career and [we're] fully aware of everything that every prospect's done on and off the field. And with that we feel he's earned the opportunity as a tryout player to earn a spot to go to training camp."