Tyler Eifert wants to be selected for Pro Bowl, but won't go if picked

ByKatherine Terrell ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 20, 2016

CINCINNATI -- Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert would love to be named to a second Pro Bowl, but don't expect him to actually play in the game.

Eifert suffered an ankle injury in last season's Pro Bowl that required surgery and put him out of commission for the entire offseason. That injury, combined with a back injury, caused him to miss six games this year.

"I'd like to make it, but I'm not going to go if I got asked," Eifert said.

Eifert made his stance on the game clear when he said in the offseason that he wouldn't go back. He has not changed his mind as the season winds down.

Eifert made the Pro Bowl in 2015 after the best season of his career, catching 52 passes for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns. But missing the first part of the season, combined with a struggling offense, has led to lower numbers for Eifert this season. He has played in 8 games, catching 24 passes for 394 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Eifert's yards per game (49.3) and yards per reception (13.6) are actually career highs. But Eifert will likely ponder what could have been if he had been able to come into the season fully healthy.

"It was one of the best experiences I've ever had," Eifert said of last season's Pro Bowl. "But it's just not worth it."

Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap said the risk of injury is always a concern, particularly when it happens to a teammate. Dunlap went to the Pro Bowl last year, and he said he would go again if asked, though he has thought about the risk.

It's more of a concern for players like Eifert, who is going into the final year of his contract after the Bengals picked up his fifth-year option.

"That's obviously going to be in the back of people's minds, guys that are up for new deals are probably worried about that a lot more than guys who are under contracts," Dunlap said. "Obviously, I still have a concern about it."

This year's Pro Bowl is being played in Orlando -- a location not exactly enticing to Eifert or some of the other players, who would prefer it stay in Hawaii or another tropical location.

"When it was in Arizona and guys were having Pro Bowl seasons, they weren't exactly excited to go there, because obviously we've played there. It's like playing the Cardinals. But there's no team in Orlando, so I don't know how that's going to feel," Dunlap said.

"Me personally, I think they should just rotate it with tropical cities. It's got to be someplace warm. Nobody wants to go play in the Pro Bowl in someplace that's cold. It's got to be someplace warm that's attractive to families and the single guys."

Eifert's stance on the Pro Bowl doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon, but he said if it was in a place like Hawaii every year, it would be more tempting for players on the fence to go.

"It [should be played] somewhere warm and fun and by the water," Eifert said.