Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert was carted off the field during Sunday's game at the Atlanta Falcons after sustaining a gruesome right ankle injury.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported later Sunday that Eifert has a broken ankle and will require season-ending surgery.
The tight end also released a statement on Twitter, reading, "This was the hardest I've worked to put myself in a position to help this team succeed and having this happen crushes me. If I've learned anything from before, it's not a time for self pity and negativity. The only thing to do is move forward with optimism. With the support of my family, friends, trainers, teammates, and coaches, this will soon be another obstacle that was overcome and life will go on.
"Thanks to everyone who has sent prayers and well wishes my way."
Eifert went down and was in obvious pain after his right foot was caught underneath him and bent unnaturally while he was tackled by Falcons linebacker De'Vondre Campbell. He was immediately tended to by trainers, and players from both teams crowded around to offer support as he was loaded onto the cart and taken off.
Eifert had four catches for 38 yards and a 15-yard touchdown against the Falcons before getting hurt. That was his first score of the season, though he had 11 grabs for 141 yards through the season's first three games.
The 28-year-old already had a lengthy history of serious injuries, including a left ankle injury suffered in the Pro Bowl after the 2015 season that required surgery and kept him out for some of the 2016 season. Eifert has also battled concussions and had major back surgery, playing in just 28 of a possible 68 games since the start of 2014.
A first-round pick of the Bengals in 2013, Eifert re-signed with the team on a one-year, $5.5 million deal this past offseason. He reached the Pro Bowl in 2015 after catching 13 touchdowns in as many games.
--Field Level Media