Falcons Place TE Hayden Hurst On IR

The Falcons will make an adjustment to their two-tight end sets in the weeks to come. They placed Hayden Hurst on IR due to the ankle injury he is battling.

Hurst did not practice this week. The fourth-year tight end played 23 snaps in Atlanta’s loss to Dallas and has played alongside Kyle Pitts in every Falcons game this season.

Blocking tight end Lee Smith, however, is good to go for Thursday’s game, according to the team. Smith missed the Cowboys game due to a back issue. Atlanta also elevated tight end Parker Hesse from its practice squad ahead of its game against New England.

Atlanta traded for Hurst last year, but the team’s new regime replaced him as the primary tight end by selecting Pitts fourth overall in April. Hurst caught 56 passes for 571 yards and six touchdowns in 2020. While Pitts is now the leader of this group and has emerged as one of the NFL’s most promising rookies, Hurst still has 20 receptions through nine games.

Although the Falcons traded second- and fifth-round picks for Hurst last year, they declined the ex-minor league baseball player’s fifth-year option. Hurst, 28, is due to be a free agent in March. The former first-round pick would have a few games at the end of this season to make a final impression for tight end-seeking teams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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