Since the 2012 NCAA football season came to an end, former Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, the Bengals' first-round pick, has been training to impress scouts and coaches in drills that have more to do with speed and explosiveness than they do his abilities on a football field. Now that he's just a day away from rookie minicamp, he's excited to get back to normalcy as a football player.
"The last four months had just been training for speed and explosiveness," he told The Journal Gazette's Tony Krousz. "Now you actually are going to get out there and play, which is what I've always done. So, it's pretty exciting."
The Bengals' rookie minicamp, which begins on Friday and goes through Sunday, will give the Bengals' rookies, both drafted and undrafted, their first taste of the team's system and playbook. The Bengals' system is bound to be foreign and complicated to most rookies, especially on offense, at first glance. Eifert knows that he's going to be a little behind as he learns the Bengals' offense.
"It's a completely different language," Eifert said. "I kind of have to relate it to our system (at Notre Dame). I'm sure we had the same type of plays. They are just named differently.
"I'm going to be behind no matter what, compared to the veteran guys. It's just a matter of catching up a little bit and try to learn as much as I can so I don't have as much to learn when I get there."
Eifert will give Jay Gruden his first real taste of a dual tight end system. While Jermaine Gresham will remain on the line more often than not, Eifert will likely be moved all over the field as a receiver. He could offer mismatches in the slot and wide out positions. Eifert, along with Gresham and A.J. Green, along with the other Bengals' receivers, quarterback Andy Dalton will have plenty of options, especially in the red zone.
That is all a long way off, though, as Eifert and the rest of the rookies are just about to begin learning how to contribute in the NFL. Even though the first-round pick is about to compete at the highest level, he's not nervous.
"I'm not nervous at all really," Eifert said. "I'm there. I'm on the team. I'm going to do what I've always done, go in and work hard and let things happen the way they will."
After rookie minicamp comes to an end on Sunday, the next time the team will organize is May 20 when they begin the first round of OTAs.