Tyler Eifert has obviously missed a lot of games in his NFL career. But, he certainly isn’t the only one at his position either.
Look, we get it. Tyler Eifert gets hurt. He hasn’t played a whole season, every time he takes a hit you cringe. But look around the league at NFL tight ends, it’s not like this isn’t a normal thing at his position.
In Eifert’s NFL career he missed one game his rookie season, 15 games his second year due to an injury he took in the first game, three games last season with a concussion, and this year he missed the first six games due to his ankle injury at the Pro Bowl and a back injury he sustained in practice. So really, if you take out his second year and the beginning of this season his loss of games is kind of…blown up.
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I don’t deny that he hasn’t missed games or it hasn’t been frustrating not having him in the lineup. But, the elbow and ankle injuries this season are your prime focus when Tyler Eifert is labeled “fragile.”
Let’s take a look here at some other tight ends around the league. One of the darling tight ends in the league the last few years has been Gary Barnidge of the Cleveland Browns. At times, the only shining star for the Browns offense has dealt with injuries to the rib, ankle, and forearm through his career. He missed three games in the 2014 season from injury. Washington Redskins star Jordan Reed has missed games also. Against the Cowboys, Reed played through a Grade 3 AC shoulder separation.
Who are two of the top tight ends we always mention? Jimmy Graham of the Seattle Seahawks and of course, Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots. For the most part, Graham has been healthy through his career. But, he missed five games last season due to injury. Then there’s Gronk, a guy who we all know has dealt with a lot of injuries through his career and has missed 19 games in his career.
Where exactly does this all tie in? These are all players–regardless of injuries–who have been a major part of their teams’ success while playing the same position as Eifert. Last year, Eifert was the best red-zone target in the NFL. Since returning from his injury, he’s put up a stat line of 21 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns.
We all can say this Bengals team is on life support and very very close to elimination. So, it’s time to say who is going to be apart of this team’s future when things get better. Eifert has to be on that list of players.
Injuries are a big part of playing the position. But, when Eifert is on the field he is a true difference maker. He’s a difference maker the Bengals will always love to have when he is on the field.