Not everyone was willing to even consider Colt Lyerla.
But the Packers have shown a willingness, perhaps even a fondness for second chances, and General Manager Ted Thompson made it clear that there are certain players he’s willing to stick his neck out for.
The Packers signed Lyerla after a free agent tryout. The talented former Oregon tight end wasn’t drafted, after leaving the team in October and then getting arrested on drug charges.
“You weigh it all. And every case is an individual case,” Thompson said, via Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com. “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.”
The Packers have given out chances at redemption before, for players such as Koren Robinson and most recently Johnny Jolly.
Thompson said he talked to many people about Lyerla’s troubled background, and clearly did plenty of evaluation of his football skills as well. The kid is clearly talented, and had the best vertical leap and broad jump in his group at the Combine, running a 4.59-second 40 as well.
Let’s not be naive, it’s also easier to give chances when you have a stable organization and strong leadership and a quarterback.
But Thompson also obviouisly places a value on a good redemption story, which can help lift a team as well — especially if the guy can play.