Lyerla likely out several more weeks

Pete Dougherty
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Green Bay Packers tight end Colt Lyerla halts prepares to hurdle a defender during Family Night at Lambeau Field.

The second opinion on Colt Lyerla's injured knee this week was no better than the first, so it appears he'll miss at least the rest of training camp and probably longer.

The rookie tight end sustained torn medial-collateral and posterior-collateral ligaments in his right knee in practice Aug. 2. He won't need surgery and has graduated to walking with one crutch instead of two, but he likely will be out for at least a few more weeks with only two weeks of camp remaining.

"It was pretty much what I was expecting," Lyerla said Tuesday. "I can't say a whole lot. I don't imagine being back for the end of training camp."

The injury leaves Lyerla's future with the Packers in question, because he has no chance of making the final roster – the Packers haven't seen enough of him to justify holding a roster spot their final 53.

The Packers were intrigued enough by his physical abilities to sign him in the first place despite off-field issues that led to his leaving the team at the University of Oregon early last season and not being selected in this year's draft. They by all appearances remained intrigued before his injury, but if they like Lyerla enough to keep him around once his injury is healed, they have limited options.

They can place him on injured reserve, which would mean they'd have to pay him the rookie injury-split salary of $303,000, plus he would not be able to practice for the rest of the season.

They also could work out an injury settlement with him, but then they wouldn't be able to re-sign him to their practice squad until six weeks after the settlement ends. So if the settlement were for three weeks into the regular season, there would be a six-week window where another team could sign him to its practice squad but the Packers couldn't.

The Packers also could put him on temporary IR, but that's as unlikely as keeping him on the final roster, because they'll want to save that one-time designation in case a key player is injured in camp or early in the season.

"I don't know what they can do and can't," Lyerla said, "but I'm pretty much good with whatever they decide to do even if it's IR. I feel like a year being here and being around the guys and being able to learn the system more will do a lot of good if it came to that."

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