Tyler Eifert is back on injured reserve for third time in five years.
The Bengals put tight end Tyler Eifert on injured reserve Thursday after he underwent surgery to repair a disc in his back and he's not expected to return this season. He's now finished three of his five NFL seasons on injured reserve and in the two years he didn't he could only play three snaps in the 2013 Wild Card Game with a shoulder injury and he tore ankle ligaments in the fourth quarter of the 2015 Pro Bowl.
Since making it to Hawaii for that game with 13 touchdowns, he's missed 11 of the last 21 games and since his rookie season in 2013 he's missed 29 of 53 games. A move to IR means he'll miss 22 of the 32 games since the Pro Bowl injury and 40 of the 64 games since his rookie year. He goes into free agency playing in less than half his career games, 39 of 80.
It's believed this latest back problem isn't related to the one that required surgery after last season.
The Bengals kept five tight ends so in Eifert's absence they've had a full complement at the position even if Ryan Hewitt's status (knee) is unknown for the next game on Oct. 22 in Pittsburgh. The Bengals figure not to fill that spot until other injuries become clearer once the club starts up practice on Monday after the bye week. Along with Hewitt there are guys like cornerbacks Adam Jones (back) and wide receiver Tyler Boyd (knee) that got dinged in last Sunday's Buffalo win and are question marks heading into next week. Also appearing to be questionable is safety Derron Smith (ankle), who hasn't played in last three games.
They most likely won't add another tight end and the move most likely won't involve a regular from scrimmage. It points to the best special teams fit in the context of the current injuries. It could even be someone not here since the Bengals figure to try out some free agents next week.
Cincinnati Ben-Gal Cheerleaders perform during the Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals game - 10/8/2017 *Photos taken by Steve