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'The team is just so ready to take off:' Charlie Woerner excited to take playoff experience to his hometown team

After four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Charlie Woerner looks to bring consistency and grittiness to the Falcons. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Before Charlie Woerner was drafted to the San Francisco 49ers in 2020, he hardly ever left his home state of Georgia, let alone lived on the opposite coast.

Woerner played his high school career at Rabun County High School, in Tiger, Georgia, then four collegiate seasons at the University of Georgia, where he transitioned to tight end from wide receiver. After four seasons in San Francisco, Woerner learned what it meant to contribute to a playoff team. Now, he's ready to take that experience to his home team.

Woerner already spends his offseasons in Athens, Georgia, so when the new league year began Wednesday he simply made the less than 50-mile drive to the Falcons' facility in Flowery Branch to ink in his multi-year deal.

"Just excitement," Woerner said. "(There's) excitement for me and my wife to get back closer to family, to play for the hometown team that I grew up cheering for and pulling for. Just very excited and very humbled to be back."

After four years away, Woerner returns home older, wiser and with significant NFL experience.

He appeared in all but two games as a Niner and started seven contests. He made a name for himself as a tight end with a knack for run blocking. He was also a key special teams contributor, too. It's a skill set the Falcons coveted enough to sign him to a reported three-year deal worth $12 million.

In this new start in a familiar place, Woerner hopes to grow in a similar scheme. Woerner said he sees an opportunity to get more offensive reps in first-time offensive coordinator, Zac Robinson's offense. Robinson's experience stems from the Sean McVay coaching tree which directly intersects with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. Although the offensive minds differ, Woerner expects a variation in a McVay-inspired offense where Shanahan typically utilizes a fullback, Robinson's vision could allow for expanded use of a blocking tight end. In fact, this was a selling point to sign with Atlanta.

"I think I put a premium on availability and versatility in my game," Woerner said. "There's less and less guys that feel like wanting to do the dirty work."

Not Woerner. He's ready to be that guy for his hometown team. 

Perhaps more than anything, though, Woerner brings with him three seasons of extensive playoff experience — including a Super Bowl run most recently. Woerner will have a chance to pass on the wisdom that comes with experience to the Falcons current tight end room with Kyle Pitts entering his third season and fellow Bulldog John FitzPatrick.

Pitts and FitzPatrick return from the 2023 roster, but there are several new additions to the Falcons, including a new coaching staff with Raheem Morris and quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Still, Woerner sees this team ready to make a jump into the postseason where he's accustomed to playing.

"I think the team is just so ready to take off," Woerner said. "It's not such a full rebuild as you think with the new head coach. It seems like a refresh almost."

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