For months, the name Colt Lyerla has been synonymous with a government conspiracy, a cocaine arrest, trouble.

This was a welcome change of pace.

At Thursday's OTA practice, the Green Bay Packers rookie tight end made a high, outstretched catch and was showered with loud cheers at Ray Nitschke Field.

"I was kind of surprised," Lyerla said. "I'm pretty far away from home. I couldn't ask for a warmer welcome."

And with that, Lyerla's NFL career is under way. Possibly no rookie enters the league with Lyerla's baggage — the arrest, the Sandy Hook tweets, quitting Oregon's team — but the Packers were willing to give him an opportunity. He signed after a rookie tryout and spoke for the first time to Wisconsin reporters Thursday. An apologetic Lyerla took responsibility for his past and said he is a changed person.

"Once you've been to the bottom," Lyerla said, "you see what you need to do as a person and the changes you need to make. I think that's going to help me become a better person in the locker room.

"I feel like I have a new home. I was kind of lost for a little while, but being here and being accepted here is truly great."

At Oregon, Lyerla caught 25 passes for 392 yards with six touchdowns in 2012. At some point in 2013, cocaine become a problem, Lyerla left the team and his reputation went down with him.

Those who knew Lyerla best in Hillsboro, Ore., and on the Ducks team say he needs a solid foundation, a family in Green Bay. He hopes he has that now.

Asked what structural changes he has made to his life off the field, Lyerla said football is his one focus.

"It's my job now," Lyerla said, "so I try to do everything that's productive toward my goals. That's a 24-hour job pretty much, because you have to train, you have to eat right, you have to sleep right, you have to watch film. I'm here 10 hours a day right now. That's pretty much all I'm doing."

A lack of trust has been central to Lyerla's past problems.

Oregon teammates say Lyerla grew to distrust others at Oregon, creating a wedge. He began to associate with the wrong people.