TE Colt Lyerla leaves Oregon
EUGENE, Ore. -- Tight end Colt Lyerla is leaving No. 2 Oregon because of personal reasons.
Lyerla did not travel with the Ducks to their game at Colorado on Saturday. Coach Mark Helfrich said after the 57-16 victory that the junior was suspended for a game for violating team rules.
The nature of the violation wasn't disclosed, but earlier this season a disagreement between Lyerla and Helfrich went public after the tight end missed the Ducks' game against Tennessee with an illness.
Oregon does not disclose injuries, so after the game Helfrich described the tight end's absence as "circumstances." Lyerla then complained to The Oregonian newspaper the he felt the description could be unfairly interpreted.
He later apologized for airing his frustration publicly and said he never meant to be a distraction. Both he and Helfrich said they'd discussed the matter and moved on, but Lyerla did not catch a pass in Oregon's next game against Cal, and then was suspended against Colorado.
Lyerla told Oregon's athletics website that his withdrawal from the Ducks on Sunday had nothing to do with that suspension.
"I love everyone at Oregon; everyone's on good terms, I believe," Lyerla said. "Just for my own benefit, it was time to move on."
Lyerla also told GoDucks.com that he will pursue an NFL career.
He caught three passes for 26 yards this season. For his career, he caught 34 passes for 565 yards and 11 touchdowns.
"We wish Colt nothing but the best in the future, and will support him in any way we can," Helfrich told GoDucks.com, declining further comment on the matter.
Lyerla also landed in the doghouse this summer for going to Twitter with his support of conspiracy theories surrounding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut. One of his posts concerned the parents of the young victims.
The school issued a strongly worded statement condemning the post.
"Twitter posts attributed to student-athlete Colt Lyerla concerning the tragedy at Sandy Hook are insensitive and offensive, especially those devastated by the shootings, and we have communicated as much to Colt," the statement said.
He also missed the first several days of fall camp his sophomore year for personal reasons.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.