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