Notre Dame football: Bengals try Eifert in multiple spots

Staff reports
ND Insider

CINCINNATI -- Tyler Eifert lined up here, there and just about everywhere during his first practice with the Cincinnati Bengals. Felt like old times.

The Bengals got started on their new tight end-heavy passing game Friday at the start of a weekend rookie minicamp. A lot of the focus was on Eifert, the former Notre Dame standout chosen in the first round to give quarterback Andy Dalton another target.

Eifert lined up in a lot of different spots at Notre Dame. Judging by the first day of practice in Cincinnati, he's going to be doing the same thing in the NFL.

"A lot of the things I'm learning are a lot of the same plays we had in with two tight ends -- move me around in different positions," Eifert said. "Today I was out in the slot quite a bit. I think I'm picking it up pretty fast."

With Dalton watching from the sideline, Eifert made a nice one-hand catch during the morning workout, a preview of what he can bring to an offense that's been overly dependent upon receiver A.J. Green.

The Bengals haven't added another proven receiver in the offseason. Rather, they took Eifert with the 21st overall pick, figuring his ability to catch the ball in a crowd -- he set a Notre Dame record for catches by a tight end -- will give them some versatility and force defenses to worry about someone other than Green.

Eifert lined up as a tight end on either side and also as a slot receiver during practice. The biggest challenge was learning the Bengals' language for each play and the pass protections.

"I think I picked it up better than I thought I would at first," Eifert said.

"It's not a whole lot, but it's definitely something new for me. I'm catching on pretty quickly and moving around quite a bit."

Te'o a 'freshman again'

Manti Te'o practiced for the first time with the San Diego Chargers on Friday, determined to push the infamous girlfriend hoax and his lackluster national championship play into the past.

"I'm here to play football," the Chargers' second-round draft pick said on the opening of the rookie minicamp. "I'm not focusing on what is going on on the outside. I'm worried about what we're doing here in San Diego and I'm looking forward to when the veterans come in on Monday."

The Chargers traded up in the second round of last month's NFL draft to select the standout linebacker from Notre Dame. He arrived in San Diego with plenty of credentials and a back story that has transcended sports.

He slipped out of the opening round of the draft in part because of a poor performance in the national championship game against Alabama.

Te'o also became the butt of national jokes after it was revealed he was duped into an Internet romance with a girlfriend he never met and who never actually existed.

Chargers coach Mike McCoy wasn't interested in talking about Te'o's past.

"We're moving on. He's one of ours now and we're going to win a lot of football games with him," he said.

Te'o looked comfortable in the roughly 30 minutes the practice was open to the media. He was inserted into the inside linebacker spot after being front-and-center in the stretching part of the workout.

"You feel like you are a freshman again," last year's Heisman Trophy finalist said about his new surroundings at Chargers Park. "Football is still football, but there is different terminology and verbiage. That is the biggest change for everybody because we're used to things being called a certain way."

Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick Tyler Eifert, a tight end from Notre Dame, participates Friday in the team's minicamp.
San Diego rookie linebacker Manti Te'o works out Friday during NFL rookie training camp at Chargers Headquarters.