Colt Lyerla, the former Oregon Ducks standout tight end, was convicted of heroin possession in Washington County court last week, court records show. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 14.
Lyerla was arrested in a Portland suburb in August 2016 when police allegedly found him lighting and smoking a “brown, sticky substance” out of tin foil, according to a probable cause affidavit released after the arrest.
A judge found Lyerla guilty after a one-day trial at the Washington County courthouse in Hillsboro, Oregon. Lyerla waived his right to a jury trial, opting to have the judge decide his fate instead. Possession of heroin is a Class B felony in Oregon, which can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Lyerla, 24, is considered one of the best high school football players in Oregon history. The 2010 U.S. Army All-American was a five-star recruit, received more than 30 Division I offers, and won a state championship as a running back and linebacker for Hillsboro High School.
At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Lyerla played tight end for two seasons under former Oregon coach Chip Kelly before quitting the team during Mark Helfrich’s first year as coach in 2013.
Lyerla was at one point a projected first-round NFL draft pick, but saw his stock tank after a series of controversies and run-ins with the law. University of Oregon had to release a statement in March 2013 after Lyerla tweeted that the Sandy Hook shooting was fake and part of a government conspiracy. The university denounced the remarks as “insensitive and offensive.”
The circumstances under which Lyerla left the team are also under question. Lyerla left midway through the 2013 season, citing a need to prepare for the NFL draft. But other reports stated that Helfrich asked Lyerla to leave after Lyerla purchased a shotgun, something the athletic department was uncomfortable with.
Lyerla was arrested in Eugene for cocaine possession in October 2013, less than two weeks after quitting the team. He was then arrested for DUII in September 2014, before his most recent August 2016 arrest for heroin possession.
Lyerla signed with the Green Bay Packers after going undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft. He was released after tearing his MCL in practice and hasn’t played for an NFL team since.
Court records list Lyerla’s current address as “transient,” a designation usually given to homeless people.
Lyerla will appear in court again on March 14, when the length of his sentence will be decided.