CINCINNATI -- Bengals cornerback William Jackson III was grinning when he came off the field after Friday's first day of training camp.
He was back.
Jackson, the Bengals' first-round pick in 2016, had no problem admitting how eager he was to begin training camp on a good note after sitting out all of last season.
After starting last year with high hopes, Jackson tore his pectoral just days into camp. Even the hope of being the one player activated off injured reserve was dashed when the Bengals went with running back Cedric Peerman instead.
Jackson channeled all those months of waiting into what he called a "good day" Friday. Jackson was around the ball several times during team drills, knocking two passes down before snagging an interception on a pass from Andy Dalton intended for Cody Core.
"I finally got the pick I was looking for, so that's always a good thing," Jackson said. "But on the first day, knock the rust off and come back tomorrow better.
Jackson said the interception was just a matter of football knowledge. The play was a third-and-3 situations, and he figured what the route might be.
"I'm pretty sure they're not going deep every time. So I just kind of sat on it and read my keys and made the play," the 24-year-old said.
Jackson also got burned on a deep pass from Dalton to receiver Jake Kumerow. He recovered in time to catch up, but Kumerow made the catch anyway.
"It was one of those things where I didn't get out of my backpedal fast enough," Jackson said. "I underestimated his speed. I did not know how fast he was. I caught up to him at the end, but he made a play."
Jackson is essentially a rookie again after missing his first season, but don't call him that.
"There's no rookie no more," he said. "They don't treat me like that no more. It's like you're a regular player now. I'll take that as a challenge."
Back in action: Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert seemed to pick off right where they left off after extensive rehabs. Bernard spent the entire offseason rehabbing a torn ACL, and Eifert missed all of OTAs and minicamp recovering from a back injury.
Both were back on the field on the first day of camp.
Eifert and Bernard spent a lot of time together as they worked off to the side during practices early in the summer, a routine Eifert admitted become monotonous. Bernard said it helped to have someone else get him through the rehab.
"He was a guy that was training with me, and as bad as it is, to have a guy going through the misery with you obviously helps," Bernard said. "You can talk to somebody."
The 1,300 Bengals fans in attendance Friday clearly enjoyed seeing the two back on the field, as they were each responsible for some of the best plays of the day. Eifert burned safety Clayton Fejedelem badly on a double move in one-on-one drills, drawing cheers from the crowd. He later snagged a one-handed pass from Dalton.
Bernard flashed some of his old speed, making several cuts, and at one point flew down the sideline with no defenders able to catch up.
Bernard has politely declined media interviews all summer as he worked through his injury, preferring to make his return his sole focus.
"I think a lot of guys, during their whole entire rehab, it’s almost as if they felt lost because of media or whatever. I just completely shut it out," Bernard said. "I was just so focused on getting back on the field. Now I’m back here and I just wanted to be a guy that was on the field doing interviews, not a guy that was hurt doing interviews."
Rookie report: John Ross returned to practice after sitting out minicamp while rehabbing an injured shoulder. The receiver did not participate in team drills but did individual drills and returned kicks. ... Joe Mixon was mixed in with several units, splitting snaps with fellow running backs Bernard and Jeremy Hill.
Injuries: Kumerow hobbled off the field and was looked at by trainers on the sideline. Kumerow watched the rest of the practice from the training table and eventually was taken back to the facility on a cart after it was over. ... Core was back at practice after he was injured during the final practice of minicamp in June. ... Jarveon Williams and Brandon Wilson, who are on the physically unable to perform and non-football injury lists, respectively, worked on the rehab field Friday. Cedric Peerman (NFI) and Monty Madaris (PUP) did not practice.