Tyler Eifert has spent more time out of the lineup with injury than on the field producing. In six NFL seasons, the tight end has missed 53 of a possible 96 regular season games. He's played just six tilts the past two years.
"I've been saying that for three years now. I would think so," Eifert said when asked if the football gods might finally allow him to remain healthy, via the team's official website. "That's one thing going for me. I haven't had nagging (pulled) hamstring and groins. I've had some freak injuries."
Eifert suffered a gruesome elbow injury that relegated him to one game in 2014. The tight end bounced back with a Pro Bowl campaign in 2015, compiling 13 touchdowns, a season that remains burned in the minds of all spectators waiting for that red-zone-menace to remain healthy.
Since that season, Eifert's career has been one injury after another. He injured his ankle in the Pro Bowl causing him to miss time, then saw his 2016 season end after a back injury that required surgery. He underwent another back surgery in September of 2017, wiping out all but two games. Eifert then dislocated his ankle four games into last year
The 28-year-old remains upbeat despite the litany of injuries. He said it took him a while to watch the freak ankle injury.
"Once I got past the physical pain, I was able to watch it," he said. "Now it's kind of like a badge of honor. 'Here, check this out. Look how nasty this is.' If you're going to go through it, you might as well show people."
"On paper, I don't know if you can just find an offense that stacks up with our personnel. We have so many weapons. It's really exciting," Eifert said. "We just have to find a way to play with some consistency and keep that going through the whole season."
Weapons only matter if the quarterback can get them the ball. With huge questions along the offensive line and middling play from Andy Dalton, all that theoretical firepower could be a dud in Cincy. The issues are what might make 2019 challenging for new coach Zac Taylor.