GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Colt Lyerla, one of the most talented and troubled tight ends in this year's draft class, is finally getting his NFL shot with the Green Bay Packers.
Lyerla, who was suspended by the University of Oregon last fall and eventually left the team in what was reported as a mutually parting before subsequently running into legal troubles, was among 28 players invited to the team's rookie orientation camp on a tryout basis after he went undrafted and unsigned in rookie free agency.
The 6-foot-3, 242-pound Lyerla never specified why he left the Ducks' program but shortly thereafter was arrested for cocaine possession and attempting to flee police.
"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," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Friday. "And with that we feel he's earned the opportunity as a tryout player to earn a spot to go to training camp. I'm excited to watch all these guys."
Neither Lyerla nor Packers general manager Ted Thompson was available for comment after Friday's rookie orientation practice. At the NFL scouting combine in February, Lyerla said his legal issues had been resolved.
"Everything is out on the table, and it's up to me now to make sure I do the right things and stay on the right path," he said at the time.
"I think the biggest thing for me is just to be honest and to show remorse where remorse is due and just to do my best to prove that I've changed and I'm changing and I've matured since I made those mistakes."
The first news of Lyerla's presence in rookie camp came when reporters on their way into practice were handed a roster of players participating in the two-day session.
In his first two seasons at Oregon playing for former coach Chip Kelly, Lyerla averaged 16.8 yards per catch on 32 receptions with 11 touchdowns. He caught only two passes last season as a junior before leaving the team.
At the combine, Lyerla ran a time of 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which was on par with what Eric Ebron, the 10th overall pick in the draft, ran (4.60). He posted a 39-inch vertical, which was 4 inches higher than any other tight end.
The Packers drafted a tight end, Cal's Richard Rodgers, in the third round, but are looking to add depth at the position. They still have not re-signed Jermichael Finley, who has yet to receive medical clearance following last season's neck injury.