CINCINNATI – Tyler Eifert had nothing to prove and a wrist to heal. His time will come soon enough.
Eifert, the Fort Wayne native and rookie from Notre Dame, sat out his second straight preseason game in the Bengals' 27-10 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium. Eifert suffered a sprained left wrist against Tennessee on Aug.17 and said he probably would have played if it had been a regular-season game. Eifert caught three passes for 32 yards in that Tennessee game.
“I think (the preseason) has gone well; it definitely went fast,” Eifert said. “I think I picked the offense up pretty well and put myself in good position to make the most of my opportunities and my reps. I think it went well overall.”
Eifert was drafted in the first round by the Bengals and has garnered general strong reviews from everyone in the organization. His ability to make the routine and tough catches that distinguished him at Notre Dame has translated well.
“There haven't really been any huge adjustments,” Eifert said. “I had to learn the offense. I had to get used to the way they practice here and the tempo of practice and the way things are done in this locker room. It's always an adjustment when you do that.”
Eifert listed adjusting to the lifestyle of a pro athlete as well as living in a new city as two of the major steps. But he said he has had a number of “good people” around him to help him through the process.
He's also been in the spotlight as one of the featured players in the HBO series “Hard Knocks.”
“It's a fun experience,” Eifert said. “You never really get used to them being around, but I'm definitely getting more comfortable. It's been cool to watch the episodes at night, seeing yourself and knowing what you're going through every day.”
Bill Polian, the former general manager who had so much success with the Colts, compared Eifert favorably with former Colts tight end Dallas Clark.
“(Eifert) has excellent hands, an excellent feel for route-running,” Polian told Cincinnati media during a visit to camp. “His speed is comparable to Dallas. The hands are in the same ballpark. He's more of a rebounder (winning contested passes) than Dallas in his style of catching. But he makes as many spectacular grabs.”
Polian said Eifert was one of the few rookies he projects as a “can't-miss” prospect.
Eifert said he is excited about the season opener Sept. 8 in Chicago, which happens to be Eifert's 23rd birthday.
“Everyone says the next level is fast, and you saw that in the preseason,” Eifert said, “But it gets cranked up even more in the regular season. I can't wait to get that first game under my belt, take it in and get in a groove in the season.”