Bengals thin at tight end during OTAs

The Cincinnati Bengals are short on tight ends at the moment, with both Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert sitting out Tuesday’s OTA practice, but head coach Marvin Lewis said he expects both to be ready for training camp.

Eifert has a shoulder injury that he said is not related to the stinger that caused him to miss the regular-season finale.

“It’s more of a feel thing than a serious injury,” Eifert said. “What happened last year is pretty taken care of.”

Unlike Eifert, Gresham was not present at the voluntary practice or in the locker room during the period open to the media for the second week in a row.

Lewis declined to discuss specifics of Gresham’s whereabouts, saying only that “he’s just not out here because he’s not practicing. He’s doing what he has to do.”

The absence of Eifert and Gresham has meant more reps for Kevin Brock and Orson Charles, whom the Bengals drafted as a tight end out of Georgia in 2012 but converted to an H-back last year.

OTA practices continue today and Thursday, followed by next week’s mandatory minicamp and then three more OTA practices June 17-19 before the players scatter for a month off prior to training camp.

Premiere pair: Second-round running back Jeremy Hill and fifth-round quarterback AJ McCarron were two of the 36 players invited to the 20th Annual NFL Rookie Premiere last weekend in Los Angeles.

In addition to meeting with representatives from some of the top marketing and licensing companies, the rookies got to wear their uniforms for the first time while attending photo shoots for trading card companies while also sitting in on seminars conducted by former and current players.

“It was pretty fun,” Hill said. “I got to meet up with some of my former teammates and some of the guys I knew from playing in college and from the Combine. It was good to meet with some of those people and have fun out on the field, but I’d rather be here working with the guys and working the playbook.”

McCarron agreed that he would rather have stayed in Cincinnati, but he said the invitation was something he couldn’t turn down.

“Anytime you’re invited to something like that, it’s a huge honor,” McCarron said. “It was a blessing for sure, and I just tried to have fun with everything. It was the first time I’d ever seen the Hollywood strip.

“The good thing was we didn’t miss a whole week, it was just two days,” he added. “But that still puts you two days behind where you have to try to catch up.”

New numbers: Safety Shawn Williams wore No. 40 last year as a rookie, but this year he’ll be back in the familiar No. 36 he wore at the University of Georgia.

“I wanted to wear it last year, but I didn’t want to go through the whole thing,” Williams said of his old number, which was assigned to fullback Chris Pressley. “It’s not a superstition or anything like that, it’s just a number I wanted and when it was available I asked for it.”

Dontay Moch wore No. 52 during his previous stints with the Bengals, but this year he’s sporting the No. 92 that James Harrison wore in 2013.

“I just wanted a more traditional defensive end number,” said Moch, who has fluctuated between linebacker and defensive end during his two seasons with the Bengals and one with Arizona.

Moch wore No. 55 in college.

“Defensive end is where I want to be playing and where most of my snaps will be, so it just means I had to get rid of the 5 and go to the 9.”

Tackle added: The Bengals signed free-agent offensive tackle Chandler Burden on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Burden is a Cincinnati native who played for La Salle High School and the University of Kentucky. He signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted college free agent in 2012 and spent most of the 2013 season on the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad.

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