Colt Lyerla made his first appearance at Ducks’ camp on Tuesday. The sophomore tight end missed the first eight days of practice and head coach Chip Kelly is staying tight lipped on why Lyerla was absent. With five touchdown grabs last year, it’s widely presumed the sophomore is the heir apparent to take over as the starter in 2012, but Kelly refused to concede that point.
“We’ll figure out who our starting tight end is when we get there,” said Kelly. “It’s an open competition. There’s nobody that’s been declared. The last tight end that started for us is David Paulson and he’s with the Pittsburgh Steelers so it’s an open competition until we get to the first game.”
While Lyerla may be the most talented tight end on the roster, there is plenty of depth at that position. A lot of the other players competing for that spot recognize Lyerla’s late start gives them an opportunity to step up.
“It’s wide open behind Colt but Colt still has to work for his own position. So he’s not even at top of the depth chart at the moment because he has to be able to come back and play and get those reps in,” said tight end Jennings Stewart. “He can’t do that at the moment because he’s got to go through all the reps so it’s wide open to everyone.”