GREEN BAY, Wis. — Many NFL players would be disappointed to find out that their upcoming season will be spent on injured reserve. Colt Lyerla is not the average NFL player.
Lyerla was waived / injured Tuesday by the Green Bay Packers, 17 days after injuring his knee in the team’s Family Night practice. Assuming that Lyerla clears waivers, the Packers have told the undrafted rookie they will bring him back and place him on season-ending injured reserve.
"You have to be released injured for one day and then you can come back on IR," Lyerla said in the locker room. "I was just told I’m going to be put on injured reserve."
This decision by Green Bay is as opposed to reaching an injury settlement with Lyerla and sending him on his way. This scenario clearly demonstrates that the Packers are interested in continuing to work with Lyerla long-term.
Lyerla had the talent of an early-round draft pick while playing at the University of Oregon, but a mutual decision was reached early in the 2013 season for him to leave the team. Soon after, Lyerla was arrested for possession of cocaine.
In the months leading up to the draft, Lyerla had to worry about not being evicted from his home. That left football as an afterthought.
Given the significant off-the-field concerns surrounding him, Lyerla wasn’t drafted. He wasn’t even signed by any team after the draft and had to settle for being a tryout player with Green Bay.
Now that Lyerla knows he has a team willing to stick with him even through an injury, the 21-year-old can settle in and learn the Packers offense while missing the 2014 season.
"It will be another year off football, but it’s pretty different where I’ll be at and what I’ll be doing," Lyerla said. "I’ll be part of the Green Bay Packers organization. I feel like there’s a lot of positives to that."
Lyerla suffered the knee injury — which was a tear in his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) — while attempting to hurdle cornerback Jumal Rolle during Family Night.