The Green Bay Packers only hold one day of practice open to the public per week during Organized Team Activities (OTAs), which they did on Tuesday, but that doesn't mean they're not practicing. They're back to work on Wednesday, and rookie tight end Colt Lyerla is expected back.
Lyerla missed Tuesday's session for unspecified reasons, although Packers head coach Mike McCarthy vouched for the undrafted rookie.
"We had a couple guys miss today," said McCarthy after Tuesday's practice. "Obviously these are voluntary practices. I'm fully aware where he is, and I expect him back tomorrow."
As a policy, the Packers don't discuss injuries and absences from practice during OTAs because they're voluntary as mandated by the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
For all intents and purposes, however, these practices are only voluntary for a very small percentage of veteran players that have established themselves as professional football players.
No one can be disciplined or fined for missing practice, but for a player like Lyerla—who is presumed to be on a very short leash after dealing with several immaturity issues during his college career including an arrest for cocaine possession—OTAs are not really voluntary.
Lyerla couldn't simply skip practice for something as innocent as going to the beach or to a baseball game. He'd be cut in a heartbeat if that was the case.
Almost certainly, Lyerla had a excusable reason for not taking part in Tuesday's practice.
Obviously the Packers and all NFL teams would be understanding if a player had to leave for a major life event such as the birth of a child or the death of a loved one.
Considering Lyerla's past, perhaps he was receiving counseling for battling his inner demons. Or maybe he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed injury.
All these suggestions are mere speculation, but whatever his reason, it's certain to be a forgivable one.
Lyerla will be back at work on Wednesday behind closed doors, continuing to work at his craft with the rest of his teammates.
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