Kyle Pitts, Falcons
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Falcons expect star tight end Kyle Pitts to be ready for Week 1

The Atlanta Falcons are eyeing a bounce-back season after falling well short of NFL playoff contention.

One of the key pieces to that push will feature star tight end Kyle Pitts being a significant offensive factor. Falcons head coach Arthur Smith provided much-needed clarity by voicing that he expects Pitts, among other players, will be ready to play for the season opener on Sept. 10 against the Carolina Panthers.

“We fully anticipate everybody being ready to go Sept. 10,” Smith said prior to the team’s second OTA practice via ESPN. “And so we’ll be smart.”


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Pitts underwent knee surgery after suffering an injury Nov. 20 against the Chicago Bears. The Falcons have moved cautiously forward as he’s yet to participate in voluntary OTAs or training camp.

Atlanta is hoping to avoid setbacks, especially after wide receiver Drake London missed much of training camp last year after suffering an injury in the preseason opener.

“We’re trying to be smart. We know we’re planning to play 20, 21 games,” Smith said Friday. “So when you do that, you need to be ready to go, peaking, ready to roll Sept. 10 and play our best football at the end of the year.

“So that goes into mind.”

Pitts has shown flashes of promise in his first seasons. He notched 68 receptions for 1,026 receiving yards and a touchdown in his rookie campaign. Last year, he tallied 28 catches for 356 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 10 games.

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The Falcons possess a young core group that the organization hopes could guide them back toward relevancy. Pitts will play a significant part in that promising foundation.

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