UO going undefeated not out of the question
Tight ends went through interviews with the media and team officials during the first day of the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday in Indianapolis, Ind.
That meant former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla was put on the hot seat regarding how he quit the Ducks last season and then was arrested for cocaine possession.
Lyerla told reporters that he has matured since that incident in November.
"I can't really say too much about that, but it's something I deeply, deeply regret and it's a mistake I'll have to live with the rest of my life," he said.
Lyerla was suspended for Oregon's game at Colorado on Oct. 5 for violation of team rules. Upon the Ducks’ return from Boulder, Colo., Lyerla quit the team in order to prepare for the NFL Draft.
A few weeks later he was arrested.
Such actions can kill a player's draft stock and certainly will hurt Lyerla’s.
Remember, former Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount went undrafted after punching a Boise State player after a game, which led to him being suspended for most of the season.
Blount's actions could be considered far less egregious than those of Lyerla, who quit on his team and then was arrested for using cocaine in a vehicle.
Not a good combination.
But Lyerla does have talent. He was a five-star recruit out of Hillsboro High School and could make a great flex, receiving tight for a team willing to take a chance on him.
"I think the biggest thing for me is just to be honest and to show remorse where remorse is due and just do my best to prove that I've changed and I'm changing and I've matured since I made those mistakes," Lyerla said.
How much teams believe he has matured will determine if and when a team spends a draft pick on Lyerla.
Lyerla said being arrested did wonders for him.
"That was huge for me," he said. "It gave me a lot of time to self-reflect and realize that's a place I never want to be again."
But he knows that he could have hurt his chances of being selected as high as his talent would otherwise command.
"I put myself in a position where my back's against the wall, to the point that if I don't do everything perfect and the right way, I won't be able to play football, let alone be successful in any shape or form," he said.
Lyerla appeared to have a solid relationship with former Oregon coach Chip Kelly, now with Philadelphia.
If Lyerla slides in the draft and Kelly passes on him over and over, that could be very telling about how he feels about his former player's chances for success in the NFL.
Lyerla, at least, is hopeful Kelly would take a chance on him.
Said Lyerla: "I feel like me and Chip had a good player-coach relationship, and I'd love to play for the Eagles. So, we'll see what happens."
Tight end drills begin Saturday.