HARTSOCK CUT:Veteran tight end Ben Hartsock, who started 11 games last season, also was cut on Tuesday. Hartsock, who has only 27 catches in his five seasons, is primarily a blocker.
That leaves the Falcons with four tight ends on the roster: Tony Gonzalez, Justin Peelle, second-year man Keith Zinger, who spent all of last season on the practice squad, and fourth-year pro Jason Rader, who played five games with the team last year, starting once.
"I think [Zinger and Rader] are viable options," Smith said. "I think it's going to be very important for both those guys, Jason Rader and Keith Zinger, to play well in the game this week."
The Falcons also released defensive tackle Willie Evans. Evans had one assisted tackle in the preseason.
HAVING A HEART:Starting on Monday the Falcons began wearing heart-shaped patches on their practice jerseys with the logo of Piedmont Heart Institute as part of a multi-year partnership that makes Piedmont Healthcare the Falcons' "preferred healthcare provider."
Piedmont Healthcare and the Falcons will develop a heart disease awareness campaign during this month.
Piedmont Healthcare also will be the title sponsor of the Atlanta Falcons Football Academy.