The Atlanta Falcons will be without one of their most dynamic offensive weapons for the rest of the season, head coach Arthur Smith said on Wednesday. Star tight end Kyle Pitts was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 21, a day after what's now been confirmed as a torn MCL in the Falcons' 27-24 win over the Chicago Bears. Pitts had surgery on his knee prior to Smith making the announcement that the highest-drafted tight end in the Common Draft Era -- since 1967 -- was done in 2022.
The fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft caught three passes for 43 yards against Chicago before suffering the injury early in the third quarter. He was hit low by safety Eddie Jackson, and Pitts' right knee clearly hyperextended. The injury looked bad, but Pitts walked off the field under his own power. It was originally believed Pitts suffered an MCL sprain based on initial tests.
The Florida product has caught 28 of 59 targets for 356 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games played this season. He has averaged just 35.6 receiving yards per game -- which was a significant step back from the 60.4 receiving yards he averaged per game in his rookie season.
Pitts caught 68 passes for 1,026 yards and one touchdown in 17 games last season, making him the first rookie tight end to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season since Mike Ditka back in 1961. Pitts also broke Julio Jones' Falcons rookie receiving record.