Packers sign Colt Lyerla after tryout

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers were impressed with what Colt Lyerla showed them on the field during their two-day rookie camp last week.

But general manager Ted Thompson wanted to take a couple of days to decide whether to sign the troubled former Oregon standout.

After sleeping on it for two nights, Thompson decided the talented 6-foot-3, 242-pound tight end was worth the risk.

"You weigh it all," Thompson said Saturday following the conclusion of the rookie camp. "And every case is an individual case. We have always believed that, or I have always believed that there are certain things that people can atone for, acknowledge their mistakes and get on with their lives. And I am a proponent of those kind of people that try to do that. And that's where we're at with Colt."

Lyerla reacted with excitement on Twitter to the news of his signing.

Lyerla, along with the 27 other tryout players at the Packers' rookie camp, was not available to reporters over the weekend. At the combine in February, where he blew away NFL personnel with a workout that included a 4.61 40-yard dash and the highest vertical jump (39 inches) by four inches among the tight ends, he said all he was hoping for was a chance at the NFL following the premature end to his college career last fall when he and the Oregon football program parted ways.

The reason for his departure from the Ducks was never disclosed, and shortly after that he was arrested for cocaine possession and attempting to flee police -- a situation he said at the combine has been resolved.

In his first two seasons at Oregon, he averaged 16.8 yards per catch and caught 11 touchdowns.

The Packers drafted one tight end, Cal's Richard Rodgers, in the third round, but are looking to add to a group that might be without last year's Week 1 starter Jermichael Finley, who remains unsigned following last season's neck surgery.

Rodgers played against Lyerla in the Pac-12.

"I know he's been through a lot of stuff, so it's just great for him to have the opportunity like the rest of us have this opportunity," Rodgers said during the rookie camp. "And when you get an opportunity, you've just got to shine and everyone's trying do to that. That's exactly what this place is about."

Lyerla was one of three tryout players the Packers signed on Monday. They also added Hawaii defensive back Charles Clay and Miami defensive end Luther Robinson. By cutting tight end Raymond Webber, signed earlier in the offseason, the Packers were at their 90-man roster limit.

Most contracts signed by tryout players contained no signing bonus or guaranteed money and include minimum salaries.