Reggie Kelly ready to jump in as No. 2 tight end

JACKSONVILLE — Tight end Reggie Kelly was promptly worked in at the No. 2 tight end position on Wednesday.

Kelly is expected to provide blocking and help keep the running game rolling. He had a visit to Pittsburgh, but wanted to play with the Falcons.

“I never retired,” Kelly said. “I don’t know where that report came from. It was a false report. It was a rumor that got started and from that point it just took off like a wild fire.

“I didn’t retire. When I became a free agent I still wanted to continue my career. Therefore, that’s why I took a visit to Pittsburgh and also came to the Falcons. I’m glad I got an opportunity to play with such a great team here.”

After tight end Justin Peelle suffered a severe injury that will cause him to miss some major time, the Falcons worked out Anthony Becht, who had been out of football for a year and Kelly. Becht weighed in at 287 pounds and was not in good football shape.

Kelly worked out for the Falcons on Monday and was signed on Tuesday.

“I still stay in the Gwinnett County area,” Kelly said. “I have a lot of close ties here in Atlanta. That made it, in my mind, a good decision to stay close to home. My kids can stay in school. Also, I can be around my family and not relocate.”

Kelly played four seasons with the Falcons after being selected in the second round of the 1999 draft. The Falcons gave up a first round pick, that turned out to be running back Jamal Lewis, to select Kelly.

Kelly, 34, has 194 career catches and five touchdowns.

“This is definitely an explosive team,” Kelly said. “It’s going to be an exciting team to play for. It’s a great team with a great quarterback and some really great coaches. I’m honored to come and try to be some form of an asset to an already established team.”

Kelly remembers his first stint with the Falcons fondly.

“ I remember playing with some really great players and a hall of fame coach in Dan Reeves,” Kelly said. “We played tough and hard-nosed football. That’s always been my style. I’ve always enjoyed that blue collar type of approach. I believe that we have those same type of players here today.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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38 comments Add your comment

Duce88

August 17th, 2011
12:52 pm

Welcome back Reggie! Good to have you on board

Logan Walker

August 17th, 2011
12:57 pm

I thought Palmer was coming along nicely at TE. Apparently not well enough.

Terrell

August 17th, 2011
1:01 pm

Logan,
Palmer is more like Tony G, a receiving TE. Reggie is a blocking TE

Astro Joe

August 17th, 2011
1:10 pm

Sounds like Mularkey still plans to use enough two TE sets to warrant bringing in Kelly. Hopefully, that will be the case in short yardage situations only… I’d hate to take a true offensive threat off the field otherwise.

honest_abe

August 17th, 2011
1:33 pm

well aj from what i’ve heard coming out of falcons camp they plan on transitioning considerably to the passing game. so as you mentioned he’ll probably be used in short yardage situations.

Astro Joe

August 17th, 2011
1:54 pm

Abe, I hope so. I wonder if he is agile enough to play some H-back when Ovie needs a rest.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 17th, 2011
1:54 pm

The Falcons had some success with three tight end sets last year. I don’t think they will take that package out. Kelly is a good guy to have in those kinds of formations. He isn’t a receiving tight end, but he can catch. I am not worried about this signing. It isn’t as big of deal as some of you make it out to be.

honest_abe

August 17th, 2011
2:07 pm

don’t feed: i respect the fact that you can’t be critical at all of your beloved falcons. i really do. but, critiscm comes because there’s more holes on this team than you’d like to believe. TE being one of the more glaring ones. Tony G is a future hall of famer but he showed major signs of slowing down last year. this isn’t to say he’ll be completely ineffective this seaosn but the fact remains his wheels are old and getting slower by the minute. i thought the falcons should’ve addressed this by drafting a te but of course they gave up precious picks for a reciever (lets hope that move doesn’t backfire). then they could have made a play for someone like greg olsen but chose not to because they don’t have much financial flexibility (see julio jones once again)…

great organizations let players that are over the hill go. i.e. NE, NYJ, Pitt etc. the falcons are making a huge mistake of holding onto tony one year too long. so they expound on that mistake by signing a serviceable backup, but he’s not going to be a difference maker either.

just try and look at things objectively however hard that might be.

JAWS

August 17th, 2011
2:17 pm

Stone hands has returned!!! This guy love his blocking but, no hands at all. We had season tickets those four years and we nicknamed him stone hands because he could not catch a pass.

Sid

August 17th, 2011
2:26 pm

Is that Reggie’s feet shuffling I hear?

Astro Joe

August 17th, 2011
2:45 pm

Abe, I could see TG becoming a more traditional possession receiver like the old school TEs and Douglas working the seams like the younger TG. And if the Birds plan to execute a few screens with Quizz, then that becomes another play that may have previously been designed for TG to pick up 8-12 yards. Bottom line, I think the Falcons have some viable and younger options to work the portion of the field that TG once dominated. Meanwhile, I think we’ll still see him come up with a big first down or red zone touchdown this season.

honest_abe

August 17th, 2011
2:51 pm

aj: very valid points, however you could’ve gotten a tight end that can get you an occasional first down for much cheaper not 5.75 mil that he’s slated to make this year. sure he brings leadership…blah blah blah. but his value doesn’t quite fit his price.

great teams always make tough decisions with overpriced veterans. falcons decided to bring them all back.. we’ll see if it ends up biting them in the .>>>>

Kurtis

August 17th, 2011
3:20 pm

Remember, he was only brought in because of Peele’s injury. Peele is a pass catching, blocking tight end, with Reggie being mainly a blocker. He may get an occasional bone thrown his way while he’s here, but he was signed to block. So, some of the passes that were sent Peele’s way last year with the 2 tight end sets could very well end up going to Gonzales now. Plus, i agree with the earlier post about Palmer. The kid has skills, no doubt. He is the heir apparent to TG.

PlanB

August 17th, 2011
3:22 pm

Good we refilled that hole with Kelly but what about the nickel. Are we going to depend on Owens or Franks? Hope we make the right decision there or we will have a long season with fewer wins than previously expected. Are we not looking for a FA?
I read another article about C. Matthews at DE looking good with a possibility of making the team. Could C Davis be gone?

Rikus

August 17th, 2011
3:27 pm

honest abe, there’s so much wrong with what you said above.

“great organizations let players that are over the hill go. i.e. NE, NYJ, Pitt etc.”
Really? The Jets seem to employ nothing but over-the-hill FA mercenaries. What makes them such a shining example of a great organization? Their style is the complete opposite of the Falcons (build through the draft) and I couldn’t be happier that we don’t emulate the Jets.

“they don’t have much financial flexibility (see julio jones once again)…”
Really? With the new rookie pool, Julio is dirt cheap for a first-rounder. How much would we have saved by keeping our original picks? A few hundred thousand? Yeah, that really would have paid for Olsen…

honest_abe

August 17th, 2011
3:34 pm

rikus: signing a ufa and cutting someone who’s already on your team are two entirely different things. bmore cut mcgahee & mason, nyj cut damien woody & cotchery. i don’t mind the falcons going out to sign a veteran on the cheap, just as long as his name isn’t reggie kelly.

as for the money. trading up to get julio meant a bigger signing bonus as well as guaranteed money that couldn’t be spent elsewhere. why is this so hard to understand?

don’t say i’m wrong before you think.

honest_abe

August 17th, 2011
3:37 pm

julio got a 10.27 mil signing bonus. the 27th pick got 3.92 mil. a couple hundred thousand? remedial math is in order for you my friend.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 17th, 2011
4:18 pm

Honest “I don’t know a thing about football” Abe, once again you show your magnificent capacity for ignorance. First of all, I have been critical of the team where the critique is deserved and not just for the sake of being negative like you. Second, you really should just stop posting because you are embarrassing your entire family. The three teams you named as examples of teams that get rid of players that are “over the hill” are some of the oldest starting aged teams in the league. The Steelers are the second oldest team in the league and the Pats are the 6th. The Falcons are ranked 14th which puts them in about the middle. While Tony may not be the player he was 6 years ago, you again show your low football IQ by your assessment of him. He is still competing at a very high level. It would have been absolute insanity for this team to spend big money on a free agent TE this year when you have Gonzo on the roster.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 17th, 2011
4:27 pm

You also show your ignorance in your assessment of the Julio trade. What Julio Jones brings to this team is much more valuable than what you would have gotten at 27. TD already said they would have taken a OT at 27. That guy would have not even been active for any game this year. What we got was a player who opens up the entire offense. He adds three dimensions that we never had before. First he adds a penalty for double covering White while bracketing Tony which is what nearly every team that beat us did last year. They could do this because Jenkins was never a threat to make teams pay for doing so. Julio will make you pay and pay with points. Second, his presence opens up the long ball. You cannot roll both safeties to shade toward White’s side of the field on streaks anymore. If you do, then that leaves Julio in one on one coverage with no safety help. Third, we finally have a dynamic short passing game. Julio is averaging 21.5 yards per catch. He can take a drag or screen for 15+ yards. His presence alone opens up the entire field for others which is why our 3-6 WR averaged over 15 ypc in the Miami game.

Man of Reason

August 17th, 2011
4:47 pm

I think the fact that TG still demanded bracket coverage from most teams last year shows you that he is still very much a part of the offense. Some of you need to learn to look beyond the obvious. His catches may be down, but it is because he was one of only two threats in the passing game the last two years. As Don’t Feed said, there was no reason for teams not to concentrate on Roddy and Tony. T.G. is still good enough that teams can’t let him run free. We are going to have a favorable matchup somewhere on the field every down this year.

Paddy

August 17th, 2011
5:19 pm

Man of Reason……well said!

Blitz Money

August 17th, 2011
6:16 pm

Gonzo is going to teach these young guys how to be professional and how to potentially be great. Reggie Kelly is a veteran and he himself will learn from Tony. I like anything that will help whatever phase of the Falcons’ game get better. Running the ball is their strong suit and still will be, even though they are shooting for more explosive plays. Everyone thinks that refers to the passing game, but Mike Turner was explosive as can-be in his first Falcon year and him being 100% healthy will lead to more 20+ yard runs for him. For anyone saying we could have got a better available FA TE, I dare you to name one. Nobody knew Peelle was going to get hurt, so that’s why Reggie Kelly is back in red and black. He’s familiar with (QB coach) Bratowski and the “hard-nosed, blue-collar” Falcon approach. To me, he’s the best AVAILABLE fit.

JONESBORO SLIM

August 17th, 2011
6:55 pm

Glad to know we have some people who know something about the game football instead of people who get on this site that see the game from a “TV” view……….

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 17th, 2011
7:11 pm

Yes welcome back but like Jaws mentioned I also had season tickets for a couple of those years and remember thinking how crazy it was to give up a 1 for him.

shane 75

August 17th, 2011
7:13 pm

Great to have Kelly back he’s a tenacious player.
I hope he gets his ol #89 back

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 17th, 2011
7:15 pm

Don’t feed Aint Trolls,

Dude it was one game, simmer down. You are dropping per game averages after 1 Preseason game. I love the Falcons but dude you gotta back off the Kool Aid. You sound like of of my fellow UGA fans.

Sly Ty

August 17th, 2011
7:16 pm

@Dont feed the Aints troll: buddy I don’t know but I thought Tony Gonzales had 70 catches last season. Please explain to me how getting 70 catches is a down year. In fact can anyone esle explain why a 70 catch season is a down year?

Peter Griffin

August 17th, 2011
7:28 pm

Palmer is coming along well and will be a great player for us. Kelly seems like a great teammate, look forward to seeing him on the field.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 17th, 2011
7:45 pm

Sly, it was a down year by Tony’s standards. He usually is a 95 catch a year guy. Also, this was the lowest YPC he has ever had in his career. That being said, it was better than 95% of the TE in the NFL.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 17th, 2011
7:46 pm

Which proves my point that the notion of cutting him and signing a FA is moronic.

Blitz Money

August 17th, 2011
8:14 pm

70 catches is darn good if you ask me, being a role player in a running offense. That might be a down year for, um, Jerry Rice.

Don't feed Aints trolls (It isn't 2009 anymore)

August 17th, 2011
9:35 pm

don’t bother responding to the trolls… it only makes them think they have friends.

Joe Tess Fish House

August 17th, 2011
9:36 pm

Why R they sighing this guy? They need 2 find a repalcement 4 that looser Perrier Jerry. He gets a start only B cuz Peters is injrued. This team bafles me.

realitycheck

August 17th, 2011
11:16 pm

Don’t Feed……….way too early to declare a win for the Falcons in the Julio trade. Wait and see who the five players turn out to be and then look at who has done what in 3-4 years.

lowdownjj

August 18th, 2011
2:23 am

Justiins injury must be pretty serious… Can’t find any info on it other than knee and he won’t play Fri. Jolio is a stud and all indications is he’s well above the curve on a shortened offseason. Well worth the trade!

Dennis

August 18th, 2011
8:32 am

Yeah-sure, he wants to be a Falcon. But like before, let somebody pay him $1 an hour more and watch him hit the road…

headley lamar

August 18th, 2011
11:02 am

riggo

August 18th, 2011
12:35 pm

goal line offense… back field — Ovie, Kelly and Turner