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Tyler Eifert's Status for Bengals Training Camp 'Up in the Air' Amid Back Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2018

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert participates during practice at the NFL football team's training camp, Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert's status remains unclear before 2018 training camp because of ongoing back issues.

"Hopefully Eifert can come back and be a factor for us," Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin said Tuesday, per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. "I can't predict the future on that one, but I can testify to the fact that he made a difference when he was up and running for us. We know what he can do if he can get back to that level. I know his full intent is to get back to that level. We'll see if he can."

Hobson added Eifert's status is "as up in the air as it was six weeks ago" when the veteran tight end wasn't practicing.

Tobin's Tuesday quote came a day after Eifert expressed excitement over reporting to training camp: 

Tyler Eifert @tylereifert

Back in Cincinnati for training camp and feeling great! Camp is a grind but I’m looking forward to it!

His status has been unclear since June, when he suffered a setback.

"My understanding is he did tweak his back just a little bit," the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported at the time. "At this point they do not know—and these are [Marvin] Lewis' words—if he's going to be on the field for the start of training camp."

Rapoport added in June that head coach Marvin Lewis expressed frustration over Eifert's status, though he noted the team would be cautious with the veteran tight end.

Eifert, 27, has played in just 10 games the past two seasons and has missed 41 contests in his five-year career. When healthy, the 2015 Pro Bowler been a dynamic weapon for Cincinnati, namely in the red zone. In 39 career games, he's caught 127 passes for 1,537 yards and 20 touchdowns. 

His breakout season came in 2015, when he caught 52 passes for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games. 

If Eifert's back doesn't heal, Tyler Kroft will handle the starting duties at tight end.

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