FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Newly signed Falcons wideout Mack Hollins is coming off a career year with the Raiders in 2022, a season he finished with 57 receptions for 690 yards and four touchdowns. Hollins, who's entering his seventh year in the NFL, said he had a few opportunities on the table to play elsewhere, but felt like the Falcons checked all the right boxes.
"The opportunity to play here, win games and be coached at a high-level, they hit the marks that I wanted," Hollins said in a Tuesday press conference. "That's kind of how I made that decision between me, my girlfriend and family in figuring that out."
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In previous years, Hollins said he would typically only have one option on the table. Hollins didn't really know how this offseason would pan out, but he trusted the process and let his agent navigate the best deal.
"Whenever free agency comes around, I try not get too stressed out about it, because it can definitely be a stressful situation where you're hoping for a million calls," Hollins said. "You want to be in your agent's ear, bugging him, but that's why I pay him to do his job. So I was able to focus on training and, when opportunities came he brought them to me and we were able to dial in on what was the best opportunity for me and my future -- here I am."
When Hollins first met head coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot, the connection was organic. Hollins and Smith both share a commonality from playing their college years in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina and, with Fontenot, it felt like he knew him for years. That's a feeling that players don't always get when meeting with teams, Hollins said.
"As I've gotten older and played more years in this league, I've learned to gravitate towards that and not force myself into situations where on paper it looks good but I don't really vibe with them," Hollins said. "I go more towards the people that I genuinely feel like I vibe with and have a connection with. With Terry and Arthur, I feel like I can kick it with them, whether I played for them or not. It's exciting be a part of something like [this]."
Hollins now joins Drake London, Frank Darby, and Jared Bernhardt, among others, in the receiver room. In contrast to last season, while playing alongside Raiders wideout Davante Adams, Hollins is now the veteran amongst Falcons receivers. Over the course of his NFL career, Hollins has made a name for himself as a special teamer, in addition to his play as a receiver and run blocker.
The Falcons haven't told him exactly how they plan to use him in this system as of yet, but Hollins noted "whatever I can do for this team to get us to be playing in February is what I'm going to do."
"I definitely feel like I can bring another high-powered receiver to the offense but also play a significant role in the run game," Hollins said. "I've had that in my career where I've been a run blocker and I know when you have a high-powered run and pass game, it's hard to stop an offense."
Hollins also adds height to the Falcons receiving unit. The 6-foot-4, 221-pound wideout sees how his size and play style compliments Arthur Smith's offense and will benefit what the Falcons are building for the 2023 season.
"Size is something that you can't teach, and we have a room of guys that are fortunate in that aspect," Hollins said. "I'm glad to be a part of it and then to have an offense that's tailored for that makes it even better. If you have offenses not tailored for big guys, then you have big guys that don't really work out that well. So, I'm definitely excited for the opportunity to go out there and maximize this offense."