Packers plan to keep Colt Lyerla involved

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Now that rookie tight end Colt Lyerla has cleared waivers and will return to the Green Bay Packers on injured reserve, his position coach plans to put him to work.

Jerry Fontenot likely will follow a similar same plan he used with tight end Andrew Quarless in 2012, when Quarless missed the entire season while recovering from knee surgery.

To keep Quarless involved, Fontenot would have him write out the test that the tight ends take at the end of the week in order to make sure they're dialed in to the game plan.

If Fontenot was the professor, then Quarless was his teaching assistant.

"And it worked out really well," Fontenot said. "I think it kept him in tune to all the possible adjustments and calls and obviously kept him into the game plan. The added benefit was that it kept him involved with the other guys in the room, and I think it worked out really well."

For Lyerla, just having the opportunity to be around the team this season should benefit him even though he won't be allowed to practice. He has not practiced since Aug. 2, when he tore both the medial collateral ligament and posterior collateral ligament in his right knee. Lyerla said he will not need surgery, but the injury will take more than a month to heal.

That means it will be another year without game experience for Lyerla, who has not played since he left the University of Oregon last fall.

Lyerla was at the Packers’ facility on Wednesday, the day after he was waived injured, but at that time said he was not sure whether he had cleared waivers. Two hours later, he went unclaimed and was reverted to the Packers' injured reserve list. He no longer counts on their 90-man roster.

On Tuesday, he said he was looking forward to spending the year around the team and learning the ways of the NFL even if he could not practice. The Packers were the only NFL team to give Lyerla a shot after he left Oregon and then ran into trouble off the field.

"What he's been through in the past, to me, it's the past and it's a learning experience that hopefully he carries forward," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. "At the end of the day, we feel very good about our program. We try to put a support group around all of our players, and Colt's no different. He did get more attention, obviously, there at the beginning. I feel like we've got him on a good path."