Injury settlement clouds Colt Lyerla's future

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers reached an injury settlement with rookie tight end Colt Lyerla on Tuesday and waived him off injured reserve.

The settlement will pay Lyerla through Week 8 of the regular season, his agent Vinnie Porter said, and also allows him the opportunity to return to the NFL this season. Had he spent the entire year on injured reserve, he would have had no chance to play until 2015 but would have been able to attend meetings and other functions with the Packers.

Now, the Packers cannot bring him back until after Week 14 because NFL rules state a player who reaches an injury settlement can't return to his old team until six weeks after the settlement expires. Any other team could sign him to the roster or practice squad after Week 8.

"They said they didn't think injured reserve and sitting out a whole other year would be the best thing for him," Porter said. "This allows them to bring him back later this year. It also allows other teams to do the same, but they're willing to take the risk."

The Packers were the only team willing to take a chance on Lyerla after his college career ended prematurely last fall, when he left the University of Oregon in midseason. He subsequently got into legal trouble, which further hurt his standing with NFL teams.

After going undrafted and unsigned in free agency immediately following the draft, Lyerla came to Green Bay on a tryout basis for their rookie minicamp. They signed him the following week.

It took a while for the talented, athletic tight end to show much and when he did, he got hurt. He tore the medial collateral and posterior collateral ligaments in his right knee while trying to hurdle a defender in practice on Aug. 2. Porter said the injury will not require surgery.

"They definitely said nothing but good things about him," Porter said. "He had a little rust from not playing in a while, but he was in shape and showed how talented he is. They said all good things, so hopefully they do [bring him back]."