NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the news this morning, (quite early), that Eifert will play, assuming Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis signs off on it.
#Bengals plan is for TE Tyler Eifert (back, ankle) to make his debut today, per source, assuming Marvin Lewis signs off on it. Limited snaps— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 23, 2016
Eifert is not on a snap count. My source says "not full usage, but common sense. We'll get him some breaks."— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) October 23, 2016
This doesn’t come as a surprise after Eifert had his most complete practice of the 2016 season this week when he took team snaps and participated in 11-on-11 drills. After being limited on Wednesday and Thursday, the Bengals said Eifert was a full participant in Friday’s walkthrough, which isn’t too rough of a practice, so doesn’t mean much.
But, Eifert said his ankle is 100% and made it known that he wanted to play this week.
“In my mind, I’m ready,” Eifert told Dayton Daily News on Thursday. “I don’t think there’s anything else I would have to pass.”
“That’s encouraging for me, just to get my confidence back,” Eifert said. “Being able to run around out there and cut it loose and not think about my ankle, not think about my back or anything else. It was good.”
Eifert went down with an ankle injury in the Pro Bowl, which ended up requiring surgery and costing him the entire offseason and first four weeks of the 2016 season. Then, just as he was about to return, he injured his back and has been battling that additional injury for the last two weeks. It now appears Eifert is finally healthy, rested and ready to play.
Expect Eifert to be limited and on a snap count in his first game action for 2016. But even if he is, this is great news as the Bengals can certainly use their red zone threat back on the field.