On Tuesday, I touched on the subject of players that just can’t be saved. Today, I want to expand on a story I glossed over in that post.
About a year ago, I was on the phone with Marco Marciano, who was then working with XL Sports Agency, which is based in Miami. Marco is not a certified contract advisor, but was part of XL’s recruiting team (Marco has since left XL). At any rate, Marco became a client after I had reported that former Oregon TE Colt Lyerla had signed with his then-firm.
Keep in mind that this was late October with many weeks of college football left to play, and Lyerla had departed from the team voluntarily and, obviously, in response to a pending suspension from the team. Already, people in draft circles knew Lyerla had unlimited physical ability but numerous struggles off the field. As I spoke to Marco, whom I like a great deal, I didn’t quite know what to say. Already, it was clear they had signed a troubled young man who would most likely not be willing, or able, to change. I wanted to warn Marco but didn’t know how, given the commitments already made.
Marco told me his agency had set Lyerla up to train with Tom Shaw in Orlando, Fla. Though Tom is not an ITL client, he is nonetheless very good in his field and also a pioneer in combine prep. As such, a normal training program would be costly, but Lyerla was going to be starting in October. That adds two months and several thousand dollars to his training package. And all this money would be spent on a player who would most surely not be drafted due to all his baggage, meaning his agency would be chasing that money for years.
As I recall, it was just days later that Lyerla had his first offseason arrest. Marco called me decrying the fact that they had not gotten him out of Eugene quickly enough, and that had they just gotten him on a plane to Orlando, it never would have happened. I didn’t know how to tell him that it didn’t look like it would have mattered where he was, that drugs were a major problem for him.
That was one of the last times I spoke to Marco, and also one of the last times XL Sports was still representing the former Duck. Just as I expected, Lyerla was dogged with several other problems last offseason, and in fact changed agencies twice in the space of six months, going from XL to Morgan Advisory Group to Elevate Sports, which reps him now. All three firms are reputable and able, even though Colt has not been.
Today, as then, Lyerla has tantalizing athletic ability, though he’s out for the season after experiencing a knee injury in camp. Due to his talent, he will not lack for suitors, either in the NFL or among agents. I hope he learns his lesson, though there are no guarantees. But I hope everyone who reads this and aspires to work in sports learns the lesson Marco and many others had to learn the hard way.