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'Pitts Vs. Hurst'? Wrong Way To Look at Atlanta Falcons TE Competition

The partnership of Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst could in 2021 be a centerpiece of this team's 'healthy culture'

It is a football tradition - or it is, at least, for healthy football programs.

The Atlanta Falcons are working toward again being a healthy football program. And the partnership of Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst could in 2021 be a centerpiece of that work.

"Everyone likes to make the comparison of me vs. Kyle, but it's going to be 'me and Kyle,'" Hurst said after a recent training camp practice. "Our tight end room is really special with me and Kyle and Lee Smith and the other guys. 

"It has been really fun so far. It's a very tight-end friendly offense."

The Falcons have certainly spent to build the room, having traded for former first-round tight end Hayden Hurst before the 2020 season and then piling on with this year's selection of Pitts at No. 4 overall.

Hurst is obviously right about what new coach Arthur Smith likes to do with 12 Personnel; there will be room for both guys. (And FalconsSI can tell you that at the Saturday training camp practice, Pitts lined up ... well, everywhere. He's not just a tight end.) But before they take the field together, there can be something else that is a joy to watch.

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Sometimes this football tradition is skipped over, "competition'' turning into jealousy or selfishness. But done right? It is about guys who play the same position developing a brotherly relationship, with the older guy helping the younger - even as the younger is trying to steal “big brother’s” job.

Hurst seems to recognize that as an almost inevitable outcome, as he noted, "It's a big year for me, a free-agent year. I'm definitely focused."

And the Falcons will likely be focused, eventually, on paying (and maybe playing in a truly featured role) one tight end, not two.

But for 2021?

"I think we're going to be on the field a lot together and we're going to do some pretty special things,'' Hurst said. "He brings a lot to the table. I think I bring a lot to the table, too. I proved it last year, and I'm looking to build on that.''

And they are looking to build together - which is what a healthy football program does.