Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts: ‘I feel like it was an OK start’

caption arrowCaption
Top 10 NFL rookie tight ends .Kyle Pitts is only the second rookie tight end in NFL history to record 1,000 yards receiving.The other is former Bears TE Mike Ditka.Pitts needed just 58 yards to break Ditka's 1961 record for most yards receiving by a rookie tight end.However he made only 2 catches for 8 yards in the last regular season game against the Saints on Jan. 9, 2022.The following are the top 10 rookie tight ends in NFL history:.10. Russ Francis (49ers) — 1975, 35 catches, 636 yards, 4 TDs.9. Bob Trumpy (Bengals) — 1968, 37 catches, 639 yards, 3 TDs.8. Cam Cleeland (Saints) — 1998, 54 catches, 684 yards, 6 TDs.7. Evan Engram (Giants) — 2017, 64 catches, 722 yards, 6 TDs.6. John Mackey (Colts) — 1963, 35 catches, 726 yards, 7 TDs.5. Charle Young (Eagles) — 1973, 55 catches, 854 yards, 6 TDs.4. Keith Jackson (Eagles) — 1988, 81 catches, 869 yards, 6 TDs.3. Jeremy Shockey (Giants) — 2002, 74 catches, 894 yards, 2 TDs.2. Kyle Pitts (Falcons) — 2021, 68 catches, 1,027 yards, 1 TD.1. Mike Ditka (Bears) — 1961, 56 catches, 1,076 yards, 12 TDs

After the completion of his first season in the NFL, Falcons rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, who was named to the Pro Bowl, spoke to the media on Monday.

ExploreFalcons’ Kyle Pitts made his rookie season look easy

Here’s what Pitts had to say:

On his health: “I wasn’t beat up. I was fine. Just didn’t go the way I guess I planned. … Everyone is kind of dinged up at the end of the season. So I just went there and was playing for the rest of the guys on the team.”

On his rookie year: “I feel like it was an OK start. I feel like there is a lot more to work on and achieve. I think (this is) just the first step.”

On his offseason plan: “I’ll take some time off initially, and then I’ll get back in the swing of things. Get back running, then lifting weights and doing on-the-field stuff.”

On what he’s learned and how that will help his offseason prep: “I think it will be way better. Just because like I said just learning everything that I’ve seen in this season and OTAs since I declared. Just knowing how I can do things differently to be a better athlete and human.”

On if there were any surprises: “No.”

On his favorite moment of the season: “I would say either the first game or the last game. Starting out the year and ending it with the guys that were in our room. Those were two pretty cool moments because we built a long bond since I got drafted. We have all been kind of close-knit and together. So it just was pretty fun playing with those guys and ending out the right way.”

On his biggest challenges: “Just staying on schedule. Trying to rehab my body. Finding ways to rehab it better. Just get away from the game mentally and physically when I do have a chance.”

ExploreRead more from the AJC about the Falcons

On his offseason plans: “That’s confidential. I’ll go on vacation and take some time away. Spend time with my family and then I’ll get back to it.”

On what area or areas did he make the most strides in: “I would just say mentally trying to read defenses better. I feel like I got better since OTAs all the way up until the last game. Trying to be able to play faster and be able to play at a high level of speed. So that was something that I found myself getting better at actually.”

On the NFL route combinations: “I would say they are slightly different, but at the end of the day, it’s just ball. Everybody kind of runs the same thing and it’s kind of mirrored, but just I mean it was some combinations and some different things. But I think it was just kind of cool to kind of learn different ways.”

On learning different positions in the offense: “I loved that challenge. Coach (Arthur) Smith originally told me that I’d have to lock in and mentally get, I would say, just mentally get right. Just be able to learn everything and try and grasp the whole offense and try and learn it by position. Just taking on that challenge and putting the extra time in after practice, before practice to try and mentally get ready, that was something that I like doing.”

On the foundation: “I would say, it’s a tough, hardworking, blue-collar team. Situationally aware, everything he preaches. I think that this year was a (stepping) stone and (we) will go up.”

On playing after losing key players on offense: “I kind of do my best to not even think about anything in the area of pressure because that will kind of weigh you down mentally and physically. So just, you know, just roll with the punches, everything that happened and all the injuries that happened this year and just you know this team to keep fighting. Other people having to go to other positions. But I didn’t think it was nothing too difficult to weigh me down.”

On exit interviews, cleaning out locker: “It was still a great vibe. We are still a team, a brotherhood. It was a close bond that we all had. A lot of rookies ending year one, guys just finishing the year out healthy. It’s no negative vibes. It’s all good.”

The Bow Tie Chronicles

For more content about the Atlanta Falcons

Follow me on Twitter @DOrlandoAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta Falcons News Now

Atlanta Falcons coverage on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About the Author

Editors' Picks