Bengals TE Eifert makes training camp debut
Although the team made a concerted effort to limit Eifert’s reps, he participated in almost every part of practice except for goal-line work that involved live tackling.
Eifert worked with the second team for most of practice, and had a touchdown in a 7-on-7 drill. He hit the ground twice while attempting to make a catch and appeared no worse for wear. Eifert will probably be a limited participant going forward in an effort to reduce the wear-and-tear on his body, but appeared to have no significant limitations in practice.
“I think my reps will be somewhat limited in practice, but the reps that I am in will be full-speed reps, just like anyone else out there,” he said.
Eifert had surgery on his back following the 2016 and 2017 seasons and has never played a full 16-game season in his career. He ended both of those seasons on injured reserve.
Because of his lengthy injury history, his status has always been given a significant amount of attention. It was no different this year after he participated in OTAs and then sat out mini-camp in June.
“I know my history and what’s happened, so I understand how it could be frustrating as fans and all that, hearing ‘Oh he’s on PUP list again or whatever,'” Eifert said. “But trust me, it’s 100 times more frustrating for me because all I want to do is be out there and I’m doing literally everything I can, spending all my time trying to get back out there and stay out there with the guys.”
Eifert said last week that he has not had any setbacks and will be ready to go by the season opener, but he doesn’t know what the plan is for his participation in preseason games. Monday appeared to be a big first step toward getting him back in the lineup.
“I think we’ll slowly work him in, but it’s good to see him back running and playing football again,” said Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. “He hasn’t done that for a while. I thought it was a good start. We’ll keep finding things to do with him and hopefully get him ready for the season. … He’s been away from it for a while. He’s getting used to hearing the play calls and getting lined up. I think it was a good first day for him.”