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Kyle Pitts on preseason debut: I felt like my heart was moving faster than my legs

Rookie TE Kyle Pitts makes a splash when he connects with QB Feleipe Franks and pushes for a 27-yard gain in the first quarter of the Falcons' last preseason game against the Browns.

Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts didn’t play much in his preseason debut, but it was enough to make an impact.

Pitts caught a short pass and took it 27 yards down the right sideline on Atlanta’s first play from scrimmage in Sunday’s matchup with Cleveland. He played only one other snap before head coach Arthur Smith decided that was enough for this year’s first overall pick out of Florida.

“I felt like my heart was moving faster than my legs,” Pitts said, via Kris Rhim of the team’s website. “It was just fun being out there being in that atmosphere and being with some guys out there that push me every play.

“I love competing. ... Anytime I have a good chance to go against anyone else, it’s always a good time.”

Limited as Pitts’ snaps were, they made the kind of impact Smith wanted. The head coach told reporters postgame that the Falcons didn’t want the tight end’s first pro action to be against Philadelphia in Week One.

“He’s done a nice job all preseason,” Smith said. “We try to be smart with guys, create true competition and evaluate those guys. We gave him a small little package and let him go. Of course, him and Hayden [Hurst] wanted to play the whole game, but we gotta make those decisions. Small sample size, but it was good to get him a catch.”

Pitts should play a significant role on Atlanta’s offense in 2021, especially since the team traded receiver Julio Jones to the Titans during the spring.