NFL Media recently provided a broad, vague assessment of former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla, calling him “[o]verly emotional and prone to outbursts following a dysfunctional childhood that offered little direction and much confusion related to a divorce.”
In March 2013, Lyerla had one specific outburst that could create some red flags for one or more NFL teams interested in Lyerla. At that time, Lyerla posted multiple Twitter messages expressing support for the idea that the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut were in some way the result of a governmental conspiracy.
“The parents of the kids that supposedly died in the sandy hook situation are liars,” Lyerla tweeted and later deleted, according to Graham Watson of Yahoo! Sports.
The University of Oregon at the time denounced Lyerla’s tweets on the topic, calling them “insensitive and offensive.” Lyerla was dismissed from the team in October 2013 for an unspecified rules violation, and he later pleaded guilty to cocaine possession.
Multiple NFL teams may feel the same way, and some teams (especially the Giants, Jets, and Patriots, who all play in the region containing Newtown) will surely remove Lyerla from their draft boards based his comments about Sandy Hook — unless he persuasively and unequivocally denounces them and apologizes for them, or at a minimum explains that cocaine is indeed a hell of a drug.
Teams presumably knew about Lyerla’s remarks, and teams presumably grilled him for them at the Scouting Combine. Beyond the interview room, Lyerla had a mixed bag of Combine results. He managed only 15 reps in the 225-pound bench press, the fewest for all tight ends. In contrast, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds, putting him behind only Eric Ebron and A.C. Leonard at the position.
Lyerla also pocketed $10,000 for generating the fastest 40-yard dash while wearing a specific Adidas shoe. The prize was promoted in Indy by Snoop Dogg, who may have advised Lyerla to switch to marijuana.
UPDATE 3:22 p.m. ET 3/2/14: One of Lyerla’s agents has contacted PFT to dispute the suggestion that Lyerla was dismissed from the Oregon team. The agent characterized the move as a mutual decision. In stating that Lyerla was dismissed, we relied on an item on the topic posted by NFL.com. The agent also pointed out that Lyerla won only $10,000, not $100,000 for his 4.61-second 40-yard dash wearing a specific type of Adidas shoe.