Expect tight end Tyler Eifert back on the playing field Sunday against the Steelers in the Bengals' 1 p.m. sold-out home game at Paul Brown Stadium.
Eifert, the NFL's touchdown leader with 12, was a full-go in Thursday's practice, upgraded from Wednesday's limited status. He missed the win over the Browns with a pinched nerve in his neck. He got hurt the previous week against the Rams.
Eifert, with his mismatch-generating physical tools and myriad receiving skills, especially in the red zone, together with his underrated blocking, is a key element as the Bengals attempt to topple Pittsburgh, which historically skewers Cincinnati with quality tight end play.
Eifert has been an equalizer, while providing quarterback Andy Dalton another elite weapon, in addition to wide receiver A.J. Green.
The 6-foot-6, 250-pound third-year player has 12 TDs on a career-high 46 receptions, or better than 25-percent of his catches. The former first-round draft pick from Notre Dame has totaled a career-best 522 yards while averaging 11.3 yards per grab.
The 25-year-old Fort Wayne native played on just eight plays in one quarter of the season opener last season before suffering an elbow injury. He missed the rest of the year after hauling in 39 catches for 445 yards as a rookie in 2013.
He's been at the top of his game this season, and the Bengals (10-2) will need him if they hope to pull off a rare season sweep against the Steelers (7-5).