Kyle Pitts considers 2023 a success because he stayed healthy

Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts has been a disappointment through three seasons, given the expectations the team had for him as the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. But Pitts considers his third season a success.

That's because, after missing seven games in 2022 with a knee injury, he stayed healthy and played all 17 games in 2023.

"A return to play. A return to, my goal was to finish the year out and healthily get to the end," Pitts told Michael Rothstein of ESPN. "To get to the 18-game mark, a full year after the injury, that was something I was looking forward to. But the season, that was something that obviously had its ups and downs, its ebbs and flows and it just comes with it. But for the most part it’s a lot more ups than downs."

A big question facing the Falcons this offseason will be whether they pick up Pitts' fifth-year option, guaranteeing him a base salary of more than $10 million in 2025. That's a decision the team will make later, after hiring a new coach who may or may not think an expensive tight end fits into the plans for his offense. For his part, Pitts says he isn't focusing on his contract.

"I control what I can control. I just go out here and play," Pitts said. "Learn, practice and give the best effort I can. And that's it."

Although staying healthy for 17 games is good, it would be better if Pitts could manage more than the 667 receiving yards he had in 2023. The Falcons' next head coach will hope for good health and good production from Pitts in 2024.