Colt Lyerla leaves Oregon Ducks football program and school

Colt Lyerla leaves Oregon Ducks football program and school
October 6, 2013, 7:00 pm
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Ducks move on from Colt departure

Tight end Colt Lyerla has left the Oregon Ducks football team and dropped out of school, according to an article posted on

Lyerla, who didn't make the trip to Colorado this weekend, told that he the decision to leave was his.

“I love everyone at Oregon; everyone’s on good terms, I believe,” Lyerla said, according to the report. “Just for my own benefit, it was time to move on.”

Lyerla, projected by many NFL Draft experts as an early-round pick, said he plans to enter the draft next spring. He also went on to say that he is leaving the program on good terms.

“We wish Colt nothing but the best in the future, and will support him in any way we can,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said in the report. has learned that Lyerla, out of Hillsboro High School, was suspended for Saturday's 57-16 win at Colorado because of repeatedly being late or absent from team activities. According to team sources, a fed up Helfrich warned Lyerla that if he were late for or miss another activity he risked being removed from the team.

That led to Lyerla deciding to leave the program.

Lyerla came to Oregon in 2011 as a five-star recruit loaded with unique athleticism for the tight end position. He backed up David Paulson for a season before becoming the full-time starter last year. He caught 25 passes for 392 yards and six touchdowns in 2012 and also became sort of a cult hero as a part-time running back, carrying the ball 13 times for 77 yards and a touchdown.

But Lyerla, who grew up in a troubled home as a child, found himself in trouble in 2012 and was suspended by then-coach Chip Kelly. Things appeared to be going well for Lyerla this year until he missed UO's win over Tennessee. Helfrich said his starting tight end missed the game because of "circumstances." That led to speculation that Lyerla might have been in trouble again when in fact it turned out he had been ill. Lyerla lashed out through the media by complaining about Helfrich's choice of words.

Lyerla started last week's win over Cal but then was absent from Saturday's game at Colorado.

Oregon shouldn't miss a beat at tight end without Lyerla. Freshman Johnny Mundt started in place of Lyerla against Tennessee and had 121 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Also, Oregon recently got back sophomore tight end Pharaoh Brown from injury giving the Ducks two legitimate starting tight ends who only lack extensive experience.