Portland Steel

Colt Lyerla's fall from grace: A man who couldn't get out of his own way.

Colt Lyerla's fall from grace: A man who couldn't get out of his own way.

The troubling story of Colt Lyerla added another chapter on Sunday, as Tigard police arrested the former Oregon star for heroin possession.

The news was first reported by Tim Brown of the Oregonian, and according to the Washington County Sheriff, he is being held on $2,000 bail.

Lyerla starred at Hillsboro High School, becoming one of the top recruits in the country, before eventually taking his talents to the University of Oregon. Expectations for Lyerla were sky high while he was in Eugene, and while he showed glimpses of his star power, off the field issues derailed his career.

Lyerla played in 15 games his first two seasons at Oregon, amassing 469 yards from scrimmage to go with seven touchdowns. He was expected to see an expanded role and be a key cog for the Ducks his junior year, but that is where the wheels started to fall off.

After playing poorly in the first two games of 2013, Lyerla missed a key game vs. Tennessee due to “circumstances.” The circumstances weren’t clear, but it was clear that Lyerla was falling out of favor within the Oregon program. He was later suspended for a violation of team rules, and shortly thereafter announced he was leaving the program for “personal reasons.”

Just weeks after leaving the program Lyerla was arrested on charges of cocaine possession, a charge he would plead guilty to in order to pursue his NFL dream.

However, the cocaine charge was in the forefront of the minds of every NFL GM as the 2014 draft approached.

Prior to the draft, Lyerla discussed his past with Chase Goodbread of College Football 24/7:

            Lyerla's troubled timeline is a lengthy one. He was dismissed from the Oregon football team in October for an unspecified team rules violation. On Thursday, he left it unspecified, but let               on that it was no small matter to him personally.

            "I can't really say too much about that, but it's something I deeply, deeply regret and it's a mistake I'll have to live with the rest of my life," he said.

            That wasn't the only issue Lyerla has dealt with. Weeks after his dismissal, Lyerla was arrested for cocaine possession when police witnessed him using the drug in his car. He later ran                   from police, compounding his troubles, when they attempted to continue the investigation at his residence. Lyerla spent a day in jail and another nine days working on a road crew.

           "That was huge for me," he said. "It gave me a lot of time to self-reflect and realize that's a place I never want to be again."

Lyerla sounded remorsefull, but his past was too much to overcome. Lyerla went undrafted, but was eventually signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent. Lyerla impressed during Packers camp, drawing comparisons to Rob Gronkowski, but it all came crumbling down. During a team practice Lyerla tore his PCL and MCL, and later reached a settlement for his release in August of 2014. Many experts thought the move was just a hiccup. A chance for the Packers to free up cap space and a roster spot, then bring Lyerla back when he was healthy. These thoughts never materialized. Due in large part to his off the field issues, Lyerla would never wear an NFL uniform again. 

Lyerla was arrested on suspicion of DUI in September of that same year, as his off the field struggled continued.

Lyerla stayed out of the news until November of 2015, but this time it was good news, and it looked like the troubled star had finally found the right path.

The Arena Football League came knocking on his door, and his hometown Portland Steel signed him to a contract. The first game of the season saw an electric Moda Center crowd cheering on the former hometown hero, and Lyerla himself said “it feels good to be the hometown kid.” But this feeling, too, was short lived. In week two against the Orlando Predators Lyerla injured his shoulder, and was subsequently put on the IR.

As Lyerla said in 2014, he never wanted to be in a bad place again. Unfortunately, he didn’t listen to his own advice. Another lost football job resulted in another run in with the law for Lyerla. The story has grown dull. Lyerla has been arrested enough time now that it is almost non-news. But for some reason, he resonates with us. Maybe it is because he was the hometown kid we all rooted for. Maybe it is because he was the Oregon Duck we all wanted to see at the next level. Or maybe we continue to pay attention because of how sad the story is: A man with the talent to be the best couldn't get out of his own way.

The heroin arrest last Sunday may be the final nail in the coffin for Lyerla. If it wasn’t already, the NFL dream is certainly dead. With cocaine and heroin on his record, he will probably never see the AFL again, either.  The only career he has sustained up to this point is that of a career criminal. 

For the sake of Lyerla and all those who love and root for him, let’s hope this career fizzles out like the rest.

Meadow Lemon named President of Portland Steel

Meadow Lemon named President of Portland Steel

LAS VEGAS – The Arena Football League (AFL) announced today that it has hired Meadow Lemon as President of the Portland Steel.  Mr. Lemon brings to the team experience in sales, marketing, and football operations.  Mr. Lemon’s primary focus with the Steel will be the management of front office operations, securing football operations essential partnerships (housing, hotel and meals), obtaining new team corporate partnerships and overseeing game day operations logistics. 

“Meadow is a tremendous asset for the Arena Football League and the Portland Steel,” AFL Commissioner Scott C. Butera said.  “He brings a wealth of football knowledge and experience and has great familiarity with the Portland market.  Meadow is a great reflection of his storied sports lineage and is an enthusiastic proponent of the AFL.  I am confident he will bring success to the Portland Steel and its loyal fan base.”

“Arena Football belongs in Portland,” new Portland Steel Team President Meadow Lemon said. “I look forward to working with everyone in the area and utilizing these great relationships to ensure that the Steel experience is something the City of Portland will be proud of.”

Meadow is the son of Harlem Globetrotter legend Meadowlark Lemon.  Prior to his time in the Arena Football League, Meadow coached eight years at Linfield College, where he won a NCAA National Championship in 2004, and four years Lewis and Clark.  Before his coaching career, Meadow was the Marketing Director and Road Manager for Harlem Globetrotters, Meadowlark Lemon’s Bucketeers, and other traveling basketball shows.  He graduated Yankton College in South Dakota, and has a wife, Barbara, and sons Chet, Chase, Brandon, and Mychal.

About the AFL

The Arena Football League enters its 29th Season in 2016.  Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country.  The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network nationally broadcast AFL games each week, culminating with the ArenaBowl on ESPN.  For all the latest news and discussion on the Arena Football League, follow the AFL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@aflarenaball).

Steel Set To Open Four Game Home Stand Beginning This Weekend

Steel Set To Open Four Game Home Stand Beginning This Weekend

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Steel return home to Moda Center after spending eight of their last nine games on the road. The beginning of the four game home stand begins this Saturday, June 18 against the Cleveland Gladiators with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m.

Following this Saturday, the Steel will host the Philadelphia Soul on Monday, June 27 with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. A game that can be seen nationally on Univision Deportes. After the league observes a bye week for the July 4th holiday, Portland will host the Orlando Predators on Saturday, July 9th followed by another visit from a Florida team, the Jacksonville Sharks on Saturday, July 16.




Week 12               6/18/2016            Sat.        Cleveland Gladiators at Portland Steel   7:00 p.m.

Week 13               6/27/2016            Mon.     Philadelphia Soul at Portland Steel                         7:00 p.m.

Week 14                                                               BYE WEEK

Week 15               7/09/2016            Sat.        Orlando Predators at Portland Steel                      7:00 p.m.

Week 16               7/16/2016            Sat.        Jacksonville Sharks at Portland Steel                      7:00 p.m.

Week 17               7/23/2016            Sat.        Portland Steel at Tampa Bay Storm                         2:00 p.m.

Week 18               8/1/2016              Mon.     Los Angeles Kiss at Portland Steel                           7:00 p.m.

For information on tickets and the latest PDX Steel news, please visit www.pdxsteel.com 




Steel DB Sergio Gilliam Named AFL's Defensive Player of the Week

Steel DB Sergio Gilliam Named AFL's Defensive Player of the Week

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Arena Football League announced that Portland Steel DB Sergio Gilliam has been named the Riddell Defensive Player of the Week award after his performance in Week 10 against the Tampa Bay Storm. This is Gilliam’s first award of the 2016 season.

In Friday night’s game against the Storm, Gilliam made six tackles and intercepted Storm quarterback Jason Boltus twice and returned those turnovers for a combined 55 yards. The two interceptions were a part of the Steel defense forcing seven turnovers on the night en route to Portland’s 68-35 victory over Tampa Bay.

Now in his sixth season out of Clemson, Gilliam is second on the team with 25.5 tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and leads the team with three interceptions this season.

The Steel return to action this Saturday against the Arizona Rattlers at Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix, Ari. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Portland returns to Moda Center next Saturday, June 18 against the Cleveland Gladiators with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

Defense leads Steel to first win of the season

Defense leads Steel to first win of the season

They say defense wins championships. It didn’t win a championship on Friday night, but it did win the game for the Portland Steel.

Behind the No.1 defense in the Arena Football League, the Portland Steel grabbed its first win of the season; a 68-35 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Storm.

The game was a duel of bottom dwellers, as the Steel came in 0-8 on the season and Tampa Bay came in with a record of 1-7.  Record aside, this game was in Portland’s favor. It was the league’s best defense vs. the league’s worst offense. Advantage Steel.

In a league heavily predicated on high scoring offenses, the Portland defense stole the show. Portland forced four fumbles, recovering all four, and scoring two touchdowns in the process. The also picked off Tampa Bay quarterback Jason Boltus multiple times, and kept constant pressure on him throughout the night. If they weren’t picking him off they were forcing him into poor, hurried passes, and turnovers on downs.

The stifling defense led to easy offense. Portland started multiple drives inside the Tampa Bay 10-yard line, easily converting on nearly every occasion. At the end of the day Portland did exactly what it needed to do in order to win: score more points than the other guys.

Final score: Portland 68 – Tampa Bay 35

Standout Steel: Sergio Gilliam stood out on the defensive side of the ball, and that is saying something considering how well the unit played. Gilliam picked Boltus off twice, and added multiple pass deflections. None bigger than a big pass breakup on 4th and goal that kept the Storm off the board. Gilliam was named the defensive player of the game, and he earned it. The defense won this game for Portland, and Gilliam won the day for the defense.

Stats and Notes: Portland’s defense forced a season high seven turnovers…The 33-point victory was the largest margin of victory in team history… This was the first home game since the season opener on April 1, a rare 9-weeks between home games.

Next Up: Portland heads to the desert to take on the Arizona Rattlers, Saturday, June 11. Kickoff is set for 6:00 pm.

Portland Steel weather Tampa Bay Storm, win 68-35

Portland Steel

Portland Steel weather Tampa Bay Storm, win 68-35

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Steel beat the Tampa Bay Storm, 68-35, in front of 5,136 at Moda Center on Friday night. With the win, the Steel (1-8) also set a franchise record for largest margin of victory with the 33-point victory.

Quarterback Shane Austin got the start under center for Portland and completed 19-of-26 passes for 139 yards, five touchdowns and added two rushing touchdowns. Steel wide receiver Tyrone Goard was named Under Armour Offensive Player of the game after hauling in four passes for 17 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored a rushing touchdown, that gives him seven touchdowns in the past two games.

The Steel defense was stout forcing a season-high seven turnovers and converted them to 40 points. Defensive back Sergio Gilliam intercepted Storm (1-8) quarterback Jason Boltus twice as he was named Riddell Defensive Player of the Game.

Steel defensive lineman Reggie Wilson opened the scoring as he returned a 31-yard fumble for a touchdown, the first of his AFL career. After another Storm fumble, Portland capitalized as Austin found Jared Perry for a 4-yard touchdown. The Steel led 14-0 after the first quarter.

Storm quarterback Boltus found wide out Mike Washington from seven yards out to open the scoring in the 2nd quarter. On the ensuing Portland drive, Austin found Tyrone Goard for a 5-yard touchdown. At the half, the Steel led 21-7.

Gilliam picked off Boltus twice in the third quarter and that led to two Steel touchdowns as Goard and Austin both scored rushing touchdowns to give the Steel a 33-7 lead early in the quarter. After a T.T. Toliver touchdown, Austin found Jared Perry for a deep 34-yard touchdown to give the Steel a 40-14 lead at the end of the quarter.

The defense kept rolling in the final quarter as they forced fumbles on back-to-back kickoff returns by the Storm. One recovered by Shaine Boyle to give Portland the ball deep in Storm territory which resulted in an Austin to Goard touchdown. The other a fumble recovery in the end zone by Boyle for a touchdown. Boyle took home the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the Game honors.

Austin tacked on the final touchdown with a 2-yard run for the score and Portland secured the largest margin of victory in team history.

The Steel return to the road next week to take on the Arizona Rattlers on Saturday, June 11 at Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. The game can be streamed on ESPN3 or heard on 750AM/102.9FM The Game with Ron Callan and Brian Perkins.

        The Steel will return to Moda Center on Saturday, June 18 to face the Cleveland Gladiators. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.

Portland Steel take tough loss against LA Kiss, 54-42


Portland Steel take tough loss against LA Kiss, 54-42

ANAHEIM - The Portland Steel lost a tough game against the LA KISS, 54-42, in front of 7,150 at Honda Center on Saturday night. The loss extends the Portland losing streak to eight games to start the season.

Quarterback Shane Austin got the start under center for the Steel (0-8) and completed 23-of-42 passes for 223 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He added one touchdown rushing. Steel wide receiver Tyrone Goard hauled in nine passes for a game-high 103 yards and a career-game high four touchdowns.

Goard hauled in a 31-yard touchdown from Austin to open the Portland scoring in the 1st quarter. At the end of one, the KISS led 14-7.

Austin would rush for a touchdown early in the 2nd quarter. A barrage of touchdowns by Goard and KISS wide receiver Donovan Morgan would close out the half. Each would catch two touchdowns to end the half. The game was knotted at 28.

Goard scored the only touchdown in the third quarter when he hauled in an 8-yard touchdown. His fourth touchdown of the game set a new career-game high. At the end of the 3rd quarter the Steel led 35-28.

Morgan, the J. Lewis Small Playmaker of the game, would catch his fourth touchdown of the game to open the final quarter. Steel wide receiver Gilson would catch his lone touchdown of the game on a 21-yard touchdown as he streaked down the sideline and into the crowd. He held on to the football and gave Portland a 42-35 lead.

KISS fullback Rory Nixon would rush for a touchdown with less than four minutes remaining, a missed extra point gave the Steel a one-point lead. A mishandled kickoff return in the end zone by Steel kick returner Christian Wise would end up in the hands of Jamil Merrell to give the KISS the lead. On the ensuing kickoff, KISS place kicker Joey Cejudo was able to send the football off the cross bar and was recovered by LA’s Fredrick Obi. The KISS would convert that turnover into another touchdown and gave them a 54-42 advantage.

Portland suffered two injuries on the night, newly activated wide receiver Darryl Thompson suffered a hamstring injury during warmups. Defensive back Tim Shelley II slammed into the wall during the final LA KISS touchdown before the half and was ruled out for the rest of the game with a hip injury.

The Steel will return to Moda Center on Friday, June 3 to face the Tampa Bay Storm. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. For all ticket information and for the most updated information on the Portland Steel, head to www.pdxsteel.com.

Portland Steel Fall to Jacksonville Sharks, 65-34

Portland Steel Fall to Jacksonville Sharks, 65-34

Jacksonville, Fla.  - The Portland Steel lost to the Jacksonville Sharks, 65-34 in front of 10, 208 at Sea Best Field at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday night. The loss extends the Steel losing streak to seven games in a row, a Portland AFL record. 

Quarterback Shane Austin got the start under center for the Steel and completed 23-of-43 passes for 233 yards, 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He would add two touchdowns rushing, as he carried the ball four times gaining 11 yards.  A mixture of untimely injuries and the Sharks league-leading passing attack, would eventually hand Jacksonville (3-4) the victory.

Austin opened the scoring when he found Jabin Sambrano for a 20-yard touchdown, the Steel led 6-0 early in the first. The Sharks tacked on the next two touchdowns before Austin found Tom Gilson for a long 28-yard touchdown to cap the scoring for the period. The Sharks led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.

The 2nd quarter began as the 1st did, Austin found Sambrano on a 19-yard scoring strike to open the scoring in the quarter. With the score 20-20, the Sharks would outscore the Steel 20-7 aided by Austin’s first interception of the contest. The Sharks led 40-27 at the half.

The Sharks were able to add to their lead by scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter. Down by 25 points, Austin was able to rush for his second touchdown of the game before the Sharks tacked on their ninth touchdown of the night. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Jacksonville led 58-27.

Sharks quarterback Tommy Grady would complete his ninth touchdown of the night when he found Joe Hills for a 3-yard touchdown to give Jacksonville a 65-27 lead. Hills was named the Under Armour Offensive Player of the Game after hauling in 8 catches for 114 yards and four touchdown performance. 

A week after setting Portland AFL game highs, Gilson led the Steel receiving corps with 13 receptions for 135 yards and one touchdown.  The second quarter would prove costly to the Steel as they lost both WR Sambrano (hamstring) and WR/DB Christian Wise (stinger) to injury. 

The Portland Steel will continue their seven game road trip as they take on the LA KISS at Honda Center on Saturday, May 28 with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. (PST). The game will be streamed online at ESPN3 and can be heard on Freedom 970AM with Ron Callan and Brian Perkins. 

The Steel will return to Moda Center on Friday, June 3 to face the Tampa Bay Storm. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.