Kelly, 34, announced his retirement last week after passing on a deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but has decided to resume his football career by rejoining the team that originally drafted him way back in 1999. Kelly spent 11 seasons primarily as a blocking tight end in the NFL, playing four with the Falcons and seven with the Bengals. He posted career highs of 31 catches, 340 yards, and 2 touchdowns during his second year in the league, but never exceeded those totals in the years since.
His role diminished last year with the Bengals using their top pick on Jermaine Gresham, after missing the 2009 season following a 31-catch year in 2008. In 14 starts last season with the Bengals, Kelly caught only 10 passes.
The Falcons are likely looking for blocking help at the position, since No. 2 tight end Justin Peelle is injured. The extent of Peelle’s injury has yet to be fully disclosed, although he is expected to miss this Friday’s contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
UPDATE: To make room for Kelly on the roster, the team announced it waived undrafted rookie WR P.J. Gore.