FLOWERY BRANCH — Tight end Adam Nissely, an undrafted free agent from South Forsyth High and Central Florida, is off to a bumpy start with the Falcons.
On the first day of minicamp back in June, he got into a scuffle with defensive end John Abraham. During the kickoff coverage drill on Thursday, he drew the ire of special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and he jumped offsides.
“This has been the experience of a lifetime, to come out and play and learn football from the best guys in the NFL,” said Nissley, who was also recruited by Wake Forest and Southern Mississippi.
He redshirted in 2007 and went on to play four seasons for the Knights. He was used mostly as a blocking tight end, but caught 38 passes for 465 yards and two touchdowns.
After he was not selected in the NFL draft, Nissley had calls from the New York Giants, New Orleans, Kansas City and the Falcons.
“I knew if it came down to the free agency, Atlanta would be my choice,” Nissley said.
The Falcons only have two veteran tight ends on the roster and they usually carry three on the 53-man roster. Nissley has been working out at the Y or the blocking tight end position.
“It’s a lot of stuff that I’ve been doing throughout my career in college, but it’s just as a higher level now,” Nissley said. “I just have to be able to make the transition to a more intense and faster game.”
He’s mainly fighting against Tommy Gallarda, who was on the practice squad last season.
“Me and Gallarda have been taking the reps at the Y,” Nissley said. “He’s doing more of it. He’s been here longer than I have. Right now, I’m just catching up on the playbook and learning the offense. Hopefully, I can play the position that they want me to.”
Despite his rocky road, Nissley plays to remain positive.
“I’m going to do any and everything they ask me to,” he said. “Whatever it takes. I’m studying my playbook and learning everything that I can. I’m just trying to keep my mouth shout and my ears open.”
As far as his dustup with Abraham, the two have made peace.
“I actually didn’t’ even know that it was John at first,” Nissley said. “He didn’t like the way I blocked him and we got into a little scuffle. But it’s cool. We talked afterwards. We are all good now. I was just trying to do my job.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog