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Can Bengals TE Tyler Eifert Stay Healthy For 16 Games?

He'll attempt to play in all 16 games for the first time in his fourth season after playing in 29 of a possible 48 games his first three years in Cincinnati.

Bengals standout Tyler Eifert escaped serious injury on a potential 35-yard touchdown play in Sunday's Pro Bowl that resulted in what the team is calling merely a sprained ankle.

This latest Eifert injury -- which looked potentially worse, bordering it on a cautionary tale -- brings to six the number that he has dealt with in his young but stellar NFL career, raising some all-important questions.

Can Eifert be expected to play in all 16 games next season, and be the top-notch, every-game threat the Bengals need in the passing game? Or should Bengals fans temper their expectations for the huge talent because of his seeming brittleness?

Eifert dropped the would-be early fourth-quarter Pro Bowl scoring pass from Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston at Aloha Stadium as the tight end appeared to jam his foot in the turf.

The third-year breakout player made his lone Pro Bowl grab in Hawaii for winning Team Irvin with an 11-yard catch over the middle on the previous play.

Eifert led the Bengals and all NFL tight ends with 13 touchdowns in 2015 despite missing three games and four starts, including time spent in concussion protocol and a game missed with a stinger.

He had an MRI on his ankle Tuesday. Less than 48 hours after suffering the injury, Bengals foot specialist Jim Amis determined that, after proper rest, the sprain won’t cause Eifert to miss any off-season activities, which begin in April.

The earliest the Bengals are allowed to begin offseason workouts is April 18, so Eifert will have more than two months to rest the injury.

Eifert set career highs this past season with 52 receptions, 615 yards and 13 touchdowns one season after missing all but one quarter of action in 2014 with elbow and shoulder injuries. He also missed time late in his rookie year of 2013 due to a stinger.

Eifert will attempt to play in all 16 games for the first time in his fourth season in the league in 2016 after playing in just 29 of a possible 48 games his first three seasons, when he missed on average about six games a year.

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