clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Reggie Kelly, Former Atlanta Falcon, Welcomed Back To The Team He First Busted On

Attn. Dimitroff:  Retro sucks. Jessie Tuggle, Big Ben Right, the '66 uniforms, Deion highlight reels pre-1994 and our long-standing "Scott Case Mustache Rodeo Day at the Dome" proposal are the ONLY pieces of lore you're allowed to import into this long awaited ret-con of the Atlanta Falcons franchise, lest your current mojo sink into a morass of apathy three decades deep. Yet your Falcons have resigned former Falcon Reggie Kelly, now 34, to work as a backup to Tony Gonzalez while Justin Peele recovers from a knee injury.

You require some backstory to understand our revulsion: Not during this previous decade of embarassment, but the one before that, a folksy agent of the status quo named Dan Reeves celebrated a Super Bowl sized career resurgence by sand-bagging yet another Falcon draft class. Kelly was taken in the second round from Mississippi State, the 46th overall pick, over future Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter, journeyman speed back Kevin Faulk, and a trio of Pro Bowl receivers - eventual Falcon Marty Booker, Donald Driver and Peerless Price, the latter of whom the Buffalo Bills would draft just 11 spots after Kelly, and whom Atlanta would trade away a first round pick for just four seasons later, in hopes Price could become a "break out player" by teleporting to areas where 2002-era Michael Vick passes landed (three yards behind the line of scrimmage, ankles, Alpharetta).

Kelly alone was a signature Reeves-era wasted pick - he caught 69 passes for three TDs in four seasons, three as a starter - but compounded by Price's phenomenal implosion (under 1,500 yards and six TDs in two seasons as the "go-to" receiver), he's one of many scabs of a bygone era you, glorious Comrade Dimitroff, have healed to a faded scar in these three bountiful years. Some wounds seemingly never heal, and if Kelly was acquired for any amount that doesn't include the words "league minimum," consider yourself an honorary Smith family member. 

Comrade: We admire your continued guile and professionalism in this rebirth, but understand that this kind of history is why, despite consistent evidence to the contrary, a five-pick trade for a marquee receiver can't be embraced as anything other than a potential disaster in our fair 404. Kelly is but a verse, not even a chapter, of a long and sad tome we're all secretly terrified is still being written.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.