Part of the job of being a top writer in the High School space is getting a chance to know the kids and their families. Today at Portland State University I attended the NFL Pro Day which was right after the PSU Team work out. As I watched the end of practice a flood of kids came up to say hello. Most of those kids I have covered here at NWPR and for Rivals too. Because it is my choice to craft how I write I have chosen to tell the stories of these boys from an insiders point of view; like family would tell it. I get to know them and could care less for conventional writing or the belief that we should not get involved with our subjects. Because I am not a classically trained writer I care not for any of that BS. Where has it gotten them; the main stream media? No where. Over time they all have fallen off just as the traditional evening newsman and the single source daily paper; that is dead and long over now.
So I write how I write. And guess what? You are not paying to read this and if you don't like it the door is in the upper right hand corner of your browser and it has an X on it. I believe I am as ethical as anyone writing out there; in fact I know I am. And part of my style and my persona is that of Coach and Mentor. That means athletes tell me things - lot's of things. Things that have happened to them on their journey. Some have been so heinous I have had to report them to local authorities. Most are smaller things that I can provide a friend or mentors perspective on. I am here for the kids. As they all become adults I am here for them too.
Today was one of those days where I went to shoot footage of the PSU kids heading off into the the Pro Football Ranks and of one other kid. That would be Mr Colt Lyerla who I have watched and written about for many years.
He has now put some mileage between his troubles at Oregon or as some would say Oregon's trouble with him. And there today at the Stott Center in walked the best athlete I have ever seen come out of the State of Oregon when we talk purely on the physical side. He was at PSU for Pro Day and not at Oregon because frankly they did not want him there. So it was arranged for him to be at PSU. For those not up on the story I will say this; that is just as well. Why you may ask was Colt Lyerla who was a John Mackey Nominee and US Army All American at PSU? Why did he appear there of all places especially when you consider he was just at the NFL Scouting Combine and took 1st place in the Vert and Broad Jump and tied for 3rd in the 40 yard dash?
I think he was there to catch some footballs and show that he is "Ok". I think more then anything now NFL teams and General Managers are in a tough dilemma because here is the best Candy on the shelf and they are afraid to buy it because the Candy might be tainted. When he walked into PSU I saw his face again for the first time in maybe 2 months. Last time I saw him he was sick, maybe 225 lbs, and in the middle of a legal battle which he solved by manning up and pleading guilty & asking the Judge to let the scales of justice work. That is now behind him and he got no special deals or free passes. He paid the price.
Today I saw the glint in his eye and the knitted brow that always told me when he was in High School that a big play was coming. Colt imposed his will on the High School football field more then any other player I ever watched. From Linebacker to Tail Back to Slot back and wide receiver he did it all. He made ESPN's Play of the week 2 times and became a Superstar. A Superstar that fell from the Sky to the bottom of a deep dark hole.
Today at PSU he looked amazing. He ran so well, caught 8 of 8 passes, did Running back drills at 6'4" 254 lbs, and looked ready to be that guy who teams can build a franchise with. And when a Scout from Green Bay asked to see the broad jump that made him famous he did not hesitate. He stretched very little and proceeded to throw down two 10'8" broad jumps which is amazing to see. And he did all these things around a lot of strangers. He had few supporters. No problem.
The reason he had to come to PSU was to prove I think that while he has fallen he is rising back up. He can never get back to the place he was and that is better anyway because that spot was not good for him. This one, down in muck and the grime where the real work is done, is the one he needs to be in for now. Colt jumped his way out of humble means once and he will do it again. He is guilty only of a crime that George Bush and Barry Obama admit to being guilty of as well and when that truth becomes clear someone is going to wake up and steal this kid in the draft.
Does he have work to do? Hell yes he does. But so do Bush and Obama... a lot of it. He has not killed anyone and in fact he has not hurt anyone. Not a single person. God knows those two have.
Compare Lyerla's self inflicted damage with the damage that star UW QB Cyler Myles and WR Damorea'ea Stringfellow are accused of doing to a Seahawks Fan and one wonders why they are not under the gun too? The whole thing is starting to smell pretty bad and it has become clear that many writers and bloggers seem to be picking on the former Duck. And I believe that there is a story there too. In fact I know there is.
My good friend and Portland songwriter Craig Carothers has a song that has the Lyrics-
"Every story has 3 sides. One that knows everything. One that knows nothing at all. And one that knows too much."
I'm the last one.
So in parting I want to thank Nigel Burton and his staff for opening their field to Colt at the request of Oregon. I want to thank you all for your support over the years. You players please know we are here for you and my phone is always by my side. Call me if you need help.
Mostly I want to thank Colt for rising up again in his life and trying to fly back to a place where he can be proud of who he is and breath again. Today with the look in his eye I saw that happen. NFL Scouts and owners watch this film below and look at this 254 pound beast move. I don't think all the posturing and positioning on this kids draft status is going to matter. He is getting drafted and he will make a team if he stays on the path he is on. What happens after that is all about what is meant to happen. In the end it is all up to fate. There is no doubt that Colt now thinks, and many of us do too, that this Fall came at a necessary time in his life. It came so the Rise could happen and stick this time on his terms.
Your going to fly kid far from this place. So go do it. Get your self a life you can control and be the master of. Maybe even earn enough for that little Banana patch on the Big Island you want. No matter what happens we will be here waiting. And so will our support.
I'd Like you to watch this- and maybe think about this young guy and all the others out there just trying to make it.