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Tyler Eifert "doing pretty much everything" in team workouts

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Two Bengals who had 2018 seasons cut short by injury say they are progressing well

by Richard Skinner, WKRC

Tuesday, May 14th 2019
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (85) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against Atlanta Falcons cornerback Damontae Kazee (27) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - While the Bengals are hoping that several of their 2019 NFL Draft selections can provide immediate help in some key areas they are also hoping to get a lift from the return of two key players who had their 2018 seasons cut short by injuries.

Oft-injured tight end Tyler Eifert and defensive end Carl Lawson both said on Tuesday that they are progressing as well as and if not better than they hoped.

Both have been participating in voluntary offseason workouts, and while neither participated in the team's two-day voluntary mini-camp in late April both say they are on target to return for the 2019 season.

"I'm doing pretty much everything," said Eifert. "There's a couple things here and there, but for the most part it's all doing everything with the guys."

Eifert suffered a broken right ankle in the fourth game of last season at Atlanta and didn't return, while Lawson suffered a torn ACL in his right knee on the first snap he played in the eighth game of last season against Tampa Bay and didn't return.


Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (85) is taken off the field after being injured against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Eifert has had each of his last three seasons cut severely short due to injuries. In 2017 he played only two games before a back injury that eventually led to surgery ended his season. In 2016 he missed the first six games due to an ankle injury suffered in the Pro Bowl and then a back injury suffered in practice in the preseason, and after returning and playing the next eight games, missed the final two games due to a back issue.

His best season came in 2015 when he played in 13 games and caught 52 passes for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns (a team record for a tight end), which came after he played in only one quarter in 2014 before suffering a dislocated elbow and then undergoing surgery that December for a previous shoulder injury.

Eifert could be an integral part of new head coach Zac Taylor's offense, which is expected to significantly utilize two tight ends with rookie second-round pick Drew Sample as the "blocking" tight end, Eifert as the "receiving" tight end and C.J. Uzomah utilized in either role.

Lawson said he is ahead of schedule in his rehab from the knee surgery and is hoping to be ready for the start of training camp in July.

"Training camp is a legitimate goal, but if I'm not 100 percent and not ready the main goal is the first game," said Lawson. "Be ready by the first game, that's my mindset."

Lawson led all NFL rookies in quarterback sacks in 2017 with 8.5, and although he had just one sack in the seven full games he played last season he said he thought he was a better player than he was as a rookie.

"I got a lot more attention (from blocking schemes) and even though the production wasn't there I thought I was a lot better than I was as a rookie," said Lawson. "Once I get back I'm going to be even better and focus really hard on doing the little things that will take my over the edge. When the time comes I think I will be better than I ever was."

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