New Falcons tight end Jonnu Smith raves about Arthur Smith

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

New Falcons tight end Jonnu Smith, who was acquired from the Patriots for a seventh-round pick, met virtually with the Atlanta media on Wednesday.

Here’s what he had to say:

On being reunited with Arthur Smith: “(If) I’ve got to answer these questions all day, I’ll keep answering them, man, because you know that guy means so much to me and what he’s done and helped me get to my career. (He’s) just a wonderful, wonderful human being. It’s an honor to be playing with him. Art believed in me for all of my NFL career ... it’s a blessing to be reunited with him, a guy who knows how to take advantage of my abilities and talents. I hope this team gets to where we need to go. So, I’m just grateful to be part of this process.”

On his perception of the Falcons and tight end Kyle Pitts and the tight end group: “It’s a good room, glad to be a part of it. It’s a room with a lot of talent. A lot of different skill sets. I think by me bringing my skill set to the room, I can add that much more with my versatility. It’s a great opportunity for us all to play off each other and to learn from one another. I know Kyle, Parker (Hesse). Some of the guys in that room. It will be an easy transition for me. Those are great guys, and we’ve got really good relationships.”

On how he found out about the trade: “I just got a call from my agent, like a bunch of us do. I’m glad I didn’t have to find out over Twitter. I know a lot of guys do. It was very professional from both sides. Kudos to New England with how they handled everything. I appreciate the time that I had there and everything that they’ve done for me. I’m just glad that this opportunity has risen for me. So, I’m ready to embark on this journey with my new club. I’m excited to meet some of the guys. I’ll be trying to get some of those relationships going. That is what’s most important. So, like I said, I just got a call from my agent. When he told me what team wanted to trade for me, I was like let’s make it happen. I felt that it was a great opportunity for not only for me and my career, but for my family. It’s a fresh start. I have a wife and four beautiful children. Add another house to the list. Let’s see what memories we can create here.”

On what worked for him in Tennessee that might translate to Atlanta: “Art knows my abilities and what I can do with the ball in my hands. Whatever ways he feels is best to get (me) the ball. I’ll just start and capitalize off of that. We’ve had success in the past, and I feel that we really didn’t even scratch the surface of what we could really do. You know, with all due respect, this isn’t about me and Art. This is about the entire Atlanta Falcons. We know it’s going to take all of us, everyone in this building. ... Art knows and I both know this isn’t about me and him. It’s just we’re part of the puzzle. And we just want to put ourselves in the right position so that we can complete this puzzle and go to where we need to go.”

On describing his skill set: “I always pride myself on my run-after-the-catch ability. Being able to be dynamic with the ball in my hands, becoming a running back with the ball in my hands. That’s kind of what I hung my hat on in my career. You know, some may consider me an undersized tight end. They may have not seen me with my shirt off, that’s the problem. I’m pretty sure I look better than every tight end in the league with my shirt off. ... Just bringing that dynamic play-making ability to this team, to this organization. Being able to stretch the field using my speed and athleticism to create mismatches. If I have to put my face in there against a (defensive) end, that’s 30 or 40 pounds heavier than me, I’m more than willing. I believe that we know you’re not just a valuable player in this game by what you can do with the ball in your hands, it’s what you can do after (you have the ball in your hands) as well. It’s about blocking and in-line blocking, down the field. Whatever phase that it is, I just believe that I can impact the game in those ways.”

On how he can help Kyle Pitts: “Kyle’s had a lot of success his first year. I know that he (had) some injuries last year. When I get in the room, I’m sure there will be a ton of things that I can provide. I’m in Year 7, and he’s going in to Year 3. There will be some nuggets that I can provide him. He’s an amazing talent. ... Art is going to use his abilities to the max. So, whatever I can do to be a teacher for him ... I was never a guy who said all the older guys could teach me something. You’re a fool if you think that way. Some of the smartest people in the world have learned lessons from people younger than them. Whatever we can provide each other, it would be extremely helpful for everybody in that room.”

On developing a connection with Desmond Ridder: “That’s what the offseason is for. That’s why I’m here, and I’ll be around. I’ll be trying to get on the same page with Desmond and some of the other guys as much as I can while I’m here. It will be great. You start building a foundation in the offseason. I think that’s where the success really comes in throughout the season. I’ve been in contact with Desmond. I’m just looking forward to working with those guys.”

On if the Falcons are ready to make a run, poised to do some damage: “Absolutely, man. When I walked into this building, I immediately felt at home the way I was embraced. Just the chemistry from the people that I met today. That’s always a good feeling to have. I’m excited about where I’m at. Just from watching this team, knowing who Art is and knowing the people he surrounded himself with to build this team. The sky is the limit for him. I’m excited to be a Falcon.”

On the Miracle Academy hat he was wearing: “It’s just a clothing brand ... inspired from a designer named Doni Nahmias. He’s based out of California. This is kind of his brand. It’s a popular, luxury, street urban brand that has kind of been on the rise.”

On buying another house: “I’m a low-key real estate mogul. I’m trying to get all of my ... trying to make some moves outside of football. I’ve got some places and properties that I rent out. Atlanta is a great place for that. I have to sell houses now because I’m moving. I really enjoy the experience of coming to a new city. ... I think Georgia is an amazing state. Atlanta is a great city.”

On the adversity that he’s overcome (he comes from a big family and had to help raise his brothers and sisters): “Just growing up in Philadelphia, in the inner city. I grew up around ... you know, a lot of what comes with an inner city, especially Philly. There is a lot of crime, violence and negative influences around me. A lot of my peers and closest friends lost their lives at such a young age or fell victim to the negativity that was in our area and are now in prison when they could have been a free man. But I had an opportunity ... to be able to make it out, to be a shining light for my community, to me, that’s a miracle. Not only making it out but going back and giving back. That’s why I started my new family foundation to make sure that I’ll be able to touch those at-risk youths in my community. There are a lot of great things going on in my life, and I’m very grateful to be in the position that I’m in.”

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