CINCINNATI – It felt strange for Tyler Eifert and John Goodman to be in an NFL locker room. But it would have been stranger had they not been there together.
For three years at Bishop Dwenger, four years at Notre Dame and the first day of rookie minicamp with the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday, Eifert and Goodman trotted on to the field as teammates.
And, of course, they’re even rooming together.
We’re used to waking each other up, said Goodman, a receiver. It’s funny because the night before the national championship game (a 42-14 loss to Alabama on Jan. 7), we had our own rooms, and he couldn’t sleep in his own room. He had to come down to mine because he was afraid he wouldn’t wake up. It was kind of funny. And here we go again.
Their lockers are only about 10 feet away from each other at Paul Brown Stadium, but they are much farther apart in clubhouse stature.
Eifert, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end, was a first-round pick (21st overall) in April’s NFL draft.
You can tell Tyler has really good body control when the ball is in the air, but you could see that on film when you’re watching him in college, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said.
Goodman, a 6-3, 215-pounder, is an undrafted free agent fighting to make the team. When he got the call from the Bengals on April 28, he was playing golf at Glendarin Hills in Angola with – you guessed it – Eifert.
We’re always golfing together. We’re always doing something. It’s an honor and a blessing to be playing with him again, Goodman said.
It’s awesome having John here. He’s not just a teammate, but a friend, he said. Not many people have that. It’s great making sure we’re on time, where we need to be and it does give you a comfort level.
Eifert, 22, showcased his versatility, lining up in four different spots as thunderstorm clouds loomed.
The new part for me is learning the plays and the verbiage and what we call plays here. It’s all different. But I’m used to lining up all over the place, it’s just knowing when to do it and all that, said Eifert, who caught 140 passes for 1,840 yards and 11 touchdowns in college.
Being out there, I was more relaxed than I’ve been in a while, just being out on the field and running around. I was a little nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. But once you’re out there running around, it’s all good.
Goodman, 23, who had 35 catches for 474 yards and four touchdowns at Notre Dame, also had to shake off some jitters but ultimately felt at ease. Especially after practice, when he was bombarded by questions about his highly regarded roommate.
What can people expect from him? Touchdowns, Goodman said. He’s definitely a player who can block and go out in the receiver position, too. And I don’t mean just like a slot guy; he can be an out receiver and just go. It’s going to be hard to cover him. I wish I was still throwing him passes like I did in high school, back in the day.
While Eifert was able to speak with the knowledge he’ll be a Bengal for a while, Goodman can only hope he sticks with his friend for at least another season.
Hopefully, I’m on the team come the season, too, he said.