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Quick hits: Eifert not back Tuesday; Dalton finds Ross, Malone deep

Tyler Eifert taking it slow after back surgery.

The Bengals continue to play it conservatively this spring with Tyler Eifert’s surgically-repaired back, although head coach Marvin Lewis was surprised his starting tight end wasn’t on the field for Tuesday’s first practice of mandatory minicamp.

“He was here all morning and then all of a sudden he wasn’t,” Lewis said after practice. “I’m sure he’s being dealt with in some kind of medical fashion. That’s the only reason a guy wouldn’t be here.”

The Bengals have pretty much kept Eifert out of team work this spring as he recovers from the back surgery that limited him to just two games last season. But there’s an air of mystery around his comeback.

“Don’t know. Don’t know,” said Lewis when asked if it is Eifert’s back and if it’s a concern. “He’s been feeling good about things and they’ve been feeling good about things. As time goes on when we start to play football then we’ll have an idea where he is.”

It sounds like he’ll be here Wednesday but not practicing. SLANTS AND SCREENS:

Dalton had some nice success tossing the long ball with those young receivers in both Tuesday’s team work and drills. John Ross and Josh Malone had impressive days and each caught bombs in stride. Ross went deep a couple of times and Malone made some nice catches over the middle ….

Of course, wide receiver A.J.  Green made the play of the day. Dalton underthrew a bomb and when cornerback Tony McRae couldn’t find it, Green leaped and plucked it off his helmet …

Malone and Ross were just some of the guys returning kicks as  special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons experiments with the new kick-off alignment. But one thing is for sure. Rookie running back Mark Walton, a special teams maven at the U, is going to get a workout on both sides of the tee …

WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict looks to be in mid-season form. He gobbled up a screen and running back Giovani Bernard in one swoop …

Offensive line coach Frank Pollack is being pretty liberal as he mixes up his first- and second-team lines. For instance, left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, backing up Cordy Glenn, and right tackle Bobby Hart, battling Jake Fisher,   spent some of the day flopping ...

The Bengals aren’t obligated to comment on injuries in the spring and they don’t … rookie cornerback Darius Phillips appeared to suffer some kind of leg or foot injury early in practice, but indications are it’s not serious. Veteran safety Josh Shaw sat out with an unknown injury. Rookie wide receiver Devonte Boyd appeared to hurt his shoulder making a diving catch during one-on-one drills early in practice and he didn’t return … Running back Tra Carson and guard center T.J. Johnson were on the rehab field …

Before practice left end Carlos Dunlap doubted he’d see a ton of snaps this week with a nod to Animal Planet: “A cheetah doesn't stretch before he runs, but it's a professional football league so you've got to prep things properly and be mindful of what you're doing so you can have that long and healthy career, which I've been fortunate to have to this point.” He was right. On Tuesday he appeared not to take a snap in team work ...

Fisher, who has been nursing a shoulder injury, says he’s ready to go full out this week in what is believed to be a battle between him and Hart for the starting job. His fourth mandatory is the first under new offensive line coach Frank Pollack and Fisher says Pollack’s no-gray-area style has helped him. On Tuesday it appeared they weren't asking Fisher to do a lot in team ...

One area where Lewis doesn’t get enough credit is the team’s attendance during the spring, especially in the last eight seasons of the A.J. Green-Andy Dalton Era. While many teams battle the Pro Football Talk glare of no show controversies (this year, just to name a few, it’s the Giants, Pats, and Seahawks), Dunlap is the first no show with Green and Dalton and he’s back this week. The Bengals spring controversy quotient is usually nil.

“We haven’t really had that,” Dalton said. “Part of it is guys want to be here, want to work. We’ve got the right type of people that want to be here and want to work.

“There’s different things that go on. Some guys don’t show up because they don’t want to be there. Some guys have stuff they need to handle. For this team and for the guys we have here, everybody is here and everybody is working.” ...

The Bengals have been big supporters of the 2018 Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship program since Lewis is a product of the program named after Walsh, a Pro Football Hall of Fame coach that got his NFL start in Cincinnati as one of head coach Paul Brown’s top offensive lieutenants during the Bengals’ first eight seasons. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and defensive line coach Jacob Burney also were interns in the program.

 On Tuesday the Bengals named their four Walsh interns:

-Gerald Chatman, special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach at Tennessee State University. Chatman, who played on the defensive line at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, also coached at Wisconsin-Oshkosh, as well as Ball State, Butler, Texas A&M and Elon. He’s also served as a coaching intern with the Broncos and Packers. Chatman assisted with the Bengals’ defensive line during the last week of OTAs and continues through minicamp end on Thursday.

 -Elizabeth “ZZ” Gore, assistant director of sports performance at the University of Houston. Gore, a track athlete in college at Purdue, helps lead Houston’s exercise science and performance training program for football and several other sports. She has previous strength and conditioning coaching experience at Mississippi State, the University of Montana and Purdue, and she was also a sports performance intern at the University of Cincinnati in 2013. Gore plans to assist the Bengals’ strength and conditioning staff during training camp.

 -Aaron McGinty, run game coordinator/outside linebackers coach at Millsaps College. McGinty has 10 years of college coaching experience, as well as NFL coaching intern experience with Jacksonville, Arizona, Carolina and Detroit. McGinty plans to assist with the Bengals’ linebackers during training camp.

 -Isaac Parker, offensive coordinator at Lewis and Clark College. Parker, who played at Williamette University in Oregon, coached in the high school ranks in Oregon for 10 years before moving to the college game in 2015. He’ll assist with the Bengals’ offensive line during training camp.

 “This program provides direct exposure for the NFL clubs to potential future coaching candidates,” Lewis said in a news release. “And for the candidates, it provides an opportunity to not only interact with NFL coaches, but also learn concepts, scheme and get an opportunity to continue to work at their craft.”

_Rookie quarterback Logan Woodside, a seventh-rounder out of Toldeo, practiced Tuesday after getting a DUI over the weekend, according to published reports. The reports said he was arrested Saturday at 3:46 a.m. by Bellevue, Ky., police. The Bengals said Tuesday they are aware of the incident and gathering more info.

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