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Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts is done for the season, officially completing Arthur Smith’s unofficial quest to turn one of the NFL’s most gifted players into an afterthought.
Smith, the second-year Falcons head coach, announced Wednesday that Pitts recently underwent surgery to repair the MCL in his right knee.
The former Florida standout also posted a picture in his Instagram story this week of him with a brace and wrap on his knee, with “Day 1” written on the image.
Smith said Wednesday he expected Pitts to be ready to go for the start of next season.
“He had obviously bigger statistical numbers in the passing game a year ago,” Smith added. “We were a much different team in a different place. Where you saw a lot of growth in a lot of other jobs we asked him to do.
“Certainly there are things that you wish would have gone different, I think that’s probably every year, but you can see that growth as a player as he’s become a more complete player.”
Kyle Pitts regresses … kind of … in second season with Falcons
Has he, though?
Pitts burst onto the scene last season and had one of the best years for a rookie tight end in NFL history. Not only was he a Pro Bowler, but he also became the second rookie tight end ever to have over 1,000 yards in his first year in the league.
Fast-forward to this season, and, well … Pitts stunk, and it wasn’t his fault. The Falcons run the ball on 60% of their plays and Marcus Mariota is the team’s current quarterback.
So, yeah. Not a great recipe!
Pitts recorded just 28 catches for 356 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games this season before suffering the knee injury earlier this month.
The good news, though, is Smith is THRILLED with how great of a blocker Pitts has become. And he sees great things for next year and beyond!
If anything spells F.U.N. in the National Football League in 2022, it’s turning an elite pass-catching tight end into a blocker.
“The best thing is you’re not wishing or hoping,” Smith said. “You know he’s done it and you know he’s made other gains in different areas of what we’ve asked him to do, so you’re very confident and positive about predicting the future.
“You can’t predict everything, but you’ve got evidence and he’s made so much growth and he’s such an impactful player, whether he touches the ball or doesn’t.”