Tyler Eifert understands.
He has been a tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals since 2013, and except for the 15 games in which he played as a rookie and 13 in his third NFL season, injuries have limited him to eight or fewer games during each of the rest of his four years in the league. That lack of availability is a major cause of frustration among Bengal fans.
‘Once it actually came down to the time to make the decision, Cincinnati was where I definitely wanted to stay’
Although he recently signed a new contract to stick with the team for at least one more year, Eifert had to do some self-reflection. After his most recent injury, a broken ankle suffered in Week Four of the 2018 season and subsequent surgery that sidelined him for the rest of the year, he wondered if it might be time to leave Cincinnati, where he has 142 career receptions for 1,716 yards and 21 touchdowns.
“I’ve had a lot of injuries there and fans have probably been a little frustrated, myself even more frustrated.”
“Last year, when I went through the free agency process, I was pretty set on staying with the Bengals,” Eifert told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “Then, when I got hurt this year, I just had a lot of time to think. I was thinking maybe it’s time for a fresh start and those types of things. But once it actually came down to the time to make a decision, Cincinnati was where I definitely wanted to stay. I’ve had a lot of injuries there and fans have probably been a little frustrated, myself even more frustrated. I just want to give them a healthy season and get back to where we should be in the playoffs.”
‘You just keep asking why, but you figure it out, you get it fixed’
As the injuries piled up, Eifert acknowledged that he finally asked himself, “Why me?”
“Yeah, I mean, definitely with this last one,” he said. “Just because the back had nagged me for so long and I finally figured out a routine and something to do that where the back was feeling really good and I was I was being productive and our offense was running at a high level. And then for something just like that to happen, it was pretty frustrating. When it happens, yes, you just keep asking why, but you figure it out, you get it fixed and then you move forward. It’s just part of the game.
‘I think the football gods will be on my side this year’
“You see some guys that have ‘scheduled’ hamstrings and ‘scheduled’ groins throughout the season and throughout camp where it’s almost like some guys look at the schedule and be like, ‘OK, I’m gonna have a hamstring week two of camp,’ and those types of things. I try to play through everything I can and, you know, just being on the field to me is a blessing, to have that opportunity. It’s just been unfortunate to have some of these crazy injuries, but I think the football gods will be on my side this year. I’ve paid my dues and looking forward to a good year.”
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