December 19, 2014

Packers giving TE Lyerla a second chance

The Green Bay Packers signed talented but troubled rookie tight end Colt Lyerla on Monday, willing to give the former Oregon star a second

Packers GM Ted Thompson

Packers GM Ted Thompson

chance.

Lyerla was arrested for cocaine possession last fall and quit the University of Oregon football team.  He was suspended for a game in 2013 before eventually quitting.  Lyerla had his driver’s license suspended five days later and was then arrested for allegedly snorting cocaine in his car on Oct. 23rd.  After pleading guilty to possession of cocaine, he was sentenced to 24 months of probation, 10 days in jail and 40 hours of community service.  There was also a twitter post referencing the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting as a conspiracy.

Lyerla had an outstanding combine in Indianapolis, yet still went undrafted.  He had the third-best 40-yard dash (4.61 seconds), the best vertical jump (39 inches) and tied for the best broad jump (10-8).  His talent could have led to a first or second round selection in the draft, but no team was willing to take a gamble on a player with such major character concerns.

That didn’t mean teams weren’t interested after the draft.  The Packers were one of the teams and Lyerla decided Green Bay was the right fit for him.

It doesn’t mean the Packers didn’t have reservations, but General Manager Ted Thompson believes in second chances.  He’s also trying to beef up his tight end position after starter Jermichael Finley injured his neck last season and hasn’t been medically cleared to play.  Finley is also a free agent and there’s no indication he’ll ever play again for the Packers.

AUDIO: GM Ted Thompson said he believes in second chances :19

The Packers drafted Richard Rodgers out of California in the third round and re-signed veteran Andrew Quarless during the offseason.  Other veterans like Brandon Bostick, Ryan Taylor and Jake Stoneburner are also returning.

Thornton signs rookie deal

The Packers signed their third-round defensive lineman Khyri Thornton to his rookie contract, becoming the sixth of the teams nine draft picks to sign a contract since being drafted less than two weeks ago.  Thornton is expected to get $2,833,252 for four years, including a $563,252 signing bonus.

It leaves first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, second-round receiver Davante Adams and third round pick Richard Rodgers still without a contract.