As long as he clears waivers, Lyerla will spend the rest of what would have been his rookie season on the Packers' injured reserve list. But it eliminates any chance he will play this season.
It is rare that a team will claim an injured player, but in 2012 the New England Patriots claimed tight end Jake Ballard off waivers when the New York Giants planned to bring him back on injured reserve.
Lyerla tore the medial collateral and posterior collateral ligaments in his right knee Aug. 2 in the Packers' Family Night practice. Lyerla was injured when he tried to hurdle a defender. He said last week that if he had torn only one of the two ligaments, he might have been able to return before the preseason ended.
"It will be another year off football," Lyerla said Tuesday. "But it's pretty different where I'll be at and what I'll be doing. So I'll be part of the Green Bay Packers organization. I feel like there's a lot of positives to that."
The 6-foot-4, 247-pound rookie has not played in a game since October before he left the University of Oregon in midseason. Lyerla then ran into legal problems when he was arrested for cocaine possession and trying to run from the police.
Those incidents, combined with some insensitive tweets about the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, scared off every NFL team until the Packers brought him in on a tryout basis for the rookie orientation camp and signed him a few days later.
Lyerla had not shown enough to warrant a roster spot without returning to practice, but the Packers were hoping to see whether he could develop on the practice squad.
In order to re-sign him on the practice squad, they would have to release him and wait for him to clear waivers. However, NFL rules prohibit teams from releasing a player without an injury settlement. The Packers then would have to wait six weeks after the settlement expired to bring him back. Instead, they will pay Lyerla his full injury-split salary of $303,000.
"I think I could develop just fine even if I was on IR," Lyerla said last week. "I think there's a lot of things I could do just from a football IQ point that would help me a lot. Obviously, I'd be able to be around and go to meetings and stuff, learning the offense and just getting better at my role."