Colt Lyerla on leaving Oregon: ‘It was time to move on’

Oregon junior tight end Colt Lyerla (15) looks towards the student section during pre-game warmups. Lyerla is expected to play after missing the last game due to controversial circumstances. The No. 2 Oregon Ducks play the California Golden Bears at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. on Sept. 28, 2013. (Michael Arellano/Emerald)

Oregon junior tight end Colt Lyerla (15) looks towards the student section during pre-game warmups. Lyerla is expected to play after missing the last game due to controversial circumstances. The No. 2 Oregon Ducks play the California Golden Bears at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. on Sept. 28, 2013. (Michael Arellano/Emerald)

Posted by Victor Flores on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 7:16 pm.

On Sunday afternoon, Oregon junior tight end Colt Lyerla withdrew from the University of Oregon. The junior tight end told Rob Moseley of that it was simply the right time for him to leave.

“Just for my own benefit,” Lyerla said, “it was time to move on.”

Lyerla added that the decision to withdraw was completely his and that his suspension for Saturday’s game against Colorado didn’t play into it. Late Sunday, Lyerla talked with head coach Mark Helfrich to tell him about his decision, saying afterwards that he and Helfrich “left on good terms” after their conversation.

Lyerla doesn’t plan on transferring to another college team, either. The five-star recruit out of high school said he’ll be pursuing a professional career.

“I love the University of Oregon and am so thankful for every opportunity that I had,” Lyerla said. “I’m going to use everything I learned from this program and do my best to be successful in whatever happens in the future.”

Helfrich and Lyerla both said they wish “nothing but the best” for each other and their futures. Helfrich added that he and the rest of the football program “will support him (Lyerla) in any way we can.” Lyerla said multiple times that he loves both the school of Oregon and the football program.

Lyerla, who starred at Hillsboro High School (Ore.), started 12 games in his Oregon career, catching 34 passes for 565 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns on 16 career carries.

This season, Lyerla rushed for 17 yards and one touchdown on three carries. He caught two passes for 26 yards and didn’t record a receiving touchdown.

Johnny Mundt and Pharaoh Brown split playing time at tight end in place of Lyerla against Colorado (Helfrich said Lyerla was suspended Saturday for violating team rules). They each caught one pass. It was Brown’s first game of the season after recovering from a foot injury.

Mundt had a huge game two weeks earlier against Tennessee, catching five passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Lyerla missed that game, as well, due to what Helfrich described as “circumstances.”

  • Olmec_Ed


  • William Butters

    This is a bummer

  • Myron Johnson

    It’s a shame he didn’t try playing another position for the Ducks. It seems he would have been a great linebacker (like he was in high school). We’ll see how far he goes with a professional team – if that’s where he thinks he is better suited.

  • Eugene Skinner

    20 years old or so and guess what? You really don’t have enough judgment to make good decisions. All the coddling and praising of elite athletes sometimes makes them believe that they are elite thinkers as well. That they are elite evaluators of their skills and abilities and the opportunities ahead. The reality is they are simply elite athletes just one injury away from being nothing special at all in any sense. Darron Thomas ready for the next step? Not. Cliff Harris ready to write his own ticket (and his own rules)? Not. Colt lacking the discipline to make team meetings in college but ready to step into the NFL? His poor judgment won’t keep him from being drafted, but it certainly has already cost him plenty of money and raised a lot of questions with future teams. He needed an All American junior year at Oregon much more than they needed him, as a necessary step to the next stage. Now he gets to do what? Go to the gym with his non football buddies and get ready for the Combine? As a pro his major liability will be his poor judgment and poor discipline.

    • Dan Duran

      To be fair regarding Darron Thomas…he had already earned his degree unlike Colt and Cliff. Based on that I really can’t criticize his decision. His slim NFL prospects probably wouldn’t have improved much with another year, assuming he would’ve even been the starter over Mariota (and I think this played into it). The kid got his degree and will have a career in something other than football, just like most former NCAA athletes (I sound like the NCAA commercial). Colt and Cliff did not get a degree, so it’s football or bust. For Cliff it’s already been bust. I wish Colt all the best in pursuing an NFL career. Someone will pick him up, question is will he stick?

    • Terrysheldon

      Absolutely spot on, Eugene. Colt said it was best to “move on”, like he had some rough circumstances here – stuck in some sort of horrible soap opera. Really? Did he lack playing time? No. Did he battle injuries? No. Did he have personality conflicts with coaches? Maybe, but why? They know the way to both beautiful end results for all concerned – a possible national championship shot for the team and a richly rewarding pro career for Colt.

      Leaving mid-season in the midst of a college career which still holds so much promise, and learning (much of it personal-relational, I sense) is nothing but short-sighted and immature, and will cost him money and probably playing time at the next level. He probably thinks all he has to do is show up and the scouts will be wowed by his chiseled frame and tatoos. Does he realize that they also put him through psychological tests as well? They have a huge interest in their huge investment; they want him to be around in 5 – 10 years after they draft him. How will he manage the stress at the next level if he can’t hack it here?

      Don’t get me wrong, I am all for Colt and his football dream. And I know I am no doubt making assumptions here in the information vacuum. It’s just sad that he feels he has to make this decision. Thomas and Harris paid dearly for their hasty exit. Colt certainly has the talent to still succeed at the next level, but you have to take care of the personal stuff too, or all of it can be wasted. Being patient, submitting to authority, and taking care of business here is the perfect path to success, not preparing for the combine.

      • Seasoned Duck

        The voice of seasoned wisdom has spoken well here.

        Duck football players take note. You are being assessed by grown men with 20 to 40 years of adult life experience – not just 1 or 2 – who must view you and your potential in high-risk investment terms. Being of that age, they have seen every variation of 18 to 22 year-old behavior many, many times over.

        You may be fully grown, but don’t overestimate yourself or your potential. NFL scouts must take a long time choosing who to hire, just as surely as you know you need to look a car over really well, with an eye on potential flaws, before making a purchase. Their careers are on the line; so is the team’s money.

        If the NFL talent is really there, trust us when we say that the best way to impress scouts is by working hard and respecting authority.

        So, be on your best behavior. The stakes are high. The rewards are potentially great.

        But the opportunity costs can be just as huge, and if you ‘drop the ball’, it will be something that you will regret for the rest of your life, guaranteed.

    • Mase

      Well stated!

  • pfefferd

    This is obviously a pampered guy who had high expectations, and off the chart ability, but someone who thinks he’s bigger than the team, and isn’t happy post-Chip. Man, what an opportunity to throw away, a shot at a National Championship. Helfrich knows he’s going to hurt himself more than the team, and I’m sure he tried to talk him out of this life altering decision. And we’ve all been there in youth. Something happens, we feel sorry for ourselves, and make decisions designed to punish those who we feel have offended us. He’s saying all the right things but the pro scouts see through this, they know it’s about being self centered. Colt, word of wisdom, “Don’t always believe what you think…”

    • Mase

      Unfortunately, yours is a lesson only understood with time…

  • Shannon

    This is a real bummer! I always looked forward to watching Colt.