By Rob Moseley
Editor, GoDucks.com

Oregon junior tight end Colt Lyerla has withdrawn from school, having informed UO coach Mark Helfrich late Sunday afternoon that he would be leaving the football program.

Lyerla, a former five-star recruit from Hillsboro, finished his UO career with 12 career starts and 34 receptions. He was suspended for the Ducks’ win Saturday at Colorado, but said Sunday his departure wasn’t related to that and was “completely my decision.”

“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 said he does not plan to transfer to another school, but rather to pursue a professional career. He said he had “a really good talk” with Helfrich late Sunday, and that “we left on good terms.”

“We wish Colt nothing but the best in the future, and will support him in any way we can,” said Helfrich, who said he will decline further comment on the matter.

Lyerla, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound junior with a rare blend of size and speed, finished his UO career with 34 receptions for 565 yards and 11 touchdowns. He added 16 carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns, primarily during a stretch of the 2012 season in which the Ducks deployed him in a special rushing package.

This season, Lyerla started three of the first four games prior to Saturday’s suspension. He caught two passes for 26 yards and ran three times for 17 yards and one touchdown.

“I wish nothing but the best for coach Helfrich and the team,” Lyerla said. “I love the University of Oregon and am so thankful for every opportunity that I had. I’m going to use everything I learned from this program and do my best to be successful in whatever happens in the future.”

Lyerla reported to the team Sunday morning for regularly scheduled treatment with athletic trainers before meeting with Helfrich.

Prior to earning honorable mention all-Pac-12 honors in 2012, Lyerla missed the start of preseason camp. But he joined the team in time to play in all 13 games, and was most valuable on two key catches during the Ducks’ touchdown drive late in the first half of the Fiesta Bowl.

In Lyerla’s absence, sophomore Pharaoh Brown and freshman Johnny Mundt started the Colorado game on Saturday. Mundt also started against Tennessee, catching five passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns that day. He has seven receptions for 162 yards and two scores through five games, while Brown made his first reception of the season Saturday, after missing several weeks with a foot injury.