Former Oregon Ducks tight end Colt Lyerla was captured by authorities while overdosing after he reportedly escaped jail hours before.
According to The Oregonian, Lyerla, who was serving time at a corrections center for drug charges, was located by police Friday after they followed-up on a report of a man overdosing on drugs.
Lyerla reportedly tried to flee police once he saw they were pursuing him, but he was apprehended and taken to a nearby hospital.
He played tight end for the Ducks during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, but left the program during his junior season after just two games.
At one point during his collegiate career, it seemed as if Lyerla was poised to be a first-round selection in the NFL Draft. But a series of drug convictions and other trouble with the law led to that never coming to fruition, though he did sign a contract with an NFL team.
Here’s what you need to know about Lyerla:
1. Lyerla Escaped Confinement Thursday Out of a Window
When they arrived to assess the alarm, workers at the facility noticed an open window and “an escape in progress,” Community Corrections Department Director Steve Berger said. All other inmates at the facility were accounted for except Lyerla.
Workers went on for a hunt for Lyerla after his absence was noted. His dorm was located on the first floor of the building.
Lyerla was located by officers at 1707 N.E. Parkside Drive in Hillsboro when they were following-up on a report of a male subject appearing to overdose on drugs.
The corrections center where Lyerla was being held is a minimum-security facility that’s located directly across from the Washington County Jail. Most of the services offered at the facility include substance abuse treatment and mental health evaluations.
Lyerla was booked at the courthouse and now faces a felony second-degree escape charge.
2. Lyerla Was Serving Time For Drug Convictions
Lyerla was at the facility because he was arrested twice on allegations of drug possession and forgery just this year.
In March, he was arrested after he was accused of passing along counterfeit $50 bills at a 7-Eleven convenience store. He reportedly tried to do so again at the same store a few days later and left after the cashier refused to accept it. After viewing surveillance footage, police matched the suspect’s description to Lyerla, and he was arrested.
Court documents obtained by The Oregonian said that during his arrest, Lyerla was wearing a lanyard around his neck, which was removed by an officer. Upon doing so, a piece of paper fell out as he removed a lighter from the plastic on the lanyard. There was a substance later found to be heroin inside of the paper.
He was initially booked on an accusation of first-degree forgery and a probation violation and was found guilty of possessing drugs and was sentenced by a judge in March.
3. Lyerla Has Had a Well-Documented Past Of Run-Ins With the Law
Lyerla has a criminal history in Oregon that’s been fueled by drug convictions.
In 2013, Lyerla was arrested and convicted of unlawful possession of cocaine. He was sentenced to 24 months probation, 10 days in jail and 40 hours community service, the Lane County District Attorney’s Office told The Oregonian in December 2013.
Lyerla was arrested during that incident after police witnessed him in a parked car “snorting what appeared to be a white powdery substance” that turned out to be cocaine. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was also required to go to a certified treatment program and submit urine tests. He was still enrolled at Oregon at the time.
One year later in September 2014, Lyerla was accused of driving under the influence of intoxicants. It was suspected that he was either high on illegal drugs or prescription medications when he was pulled over by police.
However, those charges were later dismissed.
4. Lyerla Played For the Oregon Ducks for 2 Seasons
Lyerla was highly-recruited out of high school in 2011.
He was a standout athlete at Hillsboro High School and earned a spot on the University of Oregon’s football team as a true freshman. He made headlines in 2014 when he said much of the reason he chose to go to Oregon was because he and his family were offered a house, a car and other things from a prominent school booster.
In two seasons, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound tight end was making great strides on the football field. He played in 12 games as a freshman and caught 7 passes for 147 yards and 5 touchdowns. He had an even better season as a sophomore when he played in 13 games and caught 25 passes for 392 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Lyerla appeared prime for a big junior season for the Ducks, but left the program after just two games to pursue the NFL. He didn’t travel with the team for their third game of the season after he was suspended for violating team rules.
5. Lyerla Signed With the Packers as a Free Agent
Lyerla went undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft, but he ended up finding his way to an NFL roster. He was considered to be a first-round talent by some scouts, but his off-field concerns kept teams from drafting him.
Despite those issues, however, the Green Bay Packers gave him a chance and brought him in for a minicamp tryout. The Packers liked what they saw and ended up signing Lyerla despite his troubles. He was added to the 90-man roster and was present at training camp.
“I’d say he’s as hungry as I’ve ever seen a player,” Vinnie Porter, Lyerla’s agent, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the time. “As much as you try to avoid the media and some of the stuff that’s being said about you, you still hear a lot of it. The motivating factors are out there for him, and he just doesn’t see himself like he’s portrayed and he’s eager to prove everybody wrong.”
But a tear to his MCL and PCL in his right knee prior to the season ended his time in Green Bay and ultimately the NFL. The organization reached an injury settlement with him and waved him off of injured reserve before the 2014-2015 season started.
The settlement reportedly paid Lyerla for eight weeks.
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