Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts will miss the remainder of the 2022 NFL season after undergoing knee surgery.
Head coach Arthur Smith said the procedure is "nothing that concerns us going into 2023."
Pitts shared a photo on Instagram on Tuesday night after the surgery:
This brings an end to a disappointing year. The 2021 Pro Bowler caught 28 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games.
The Falcons placed Pitts on injured reserve the day after their 27-24 victory over the Chicago Bears in Week 11. That left the door open for him to return in Week 17 since an IR designation requires a player to miss only four games before he's eligible to return.
But NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported surgery was a possibility for Pitts and that he might not return in 2022.
Despite sitting at 5-7, the Falcons are only a half-game behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for first place in the NFC South, so they have a possible path to the playoffs. A healthy Pitts perhaps could've made a difference in the final two weeks.
Shutting down the 22-year-old is the right call because Atlanta's priorities extend beyond 2022.
The franchise decided it was content to tread water when it signed Marcus Mariota and selected Desmond Ridder in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft. Neither was the kind of starting quarterback you pictured leading a postseason charge.
There's little reason to risk further injury to a player who figures to be a critical piece of the passing game for the long haul.
Now, Pitts can turn his focus to 2023, and he could be in line for a big bounce-back campaign depending on who's lining up under center.