Hesse, 25, spent the last two seasons in the Titans practice squad when Falcons’ head coach was Tennessee’s offensive coordinator.
In a corresponding move, the Falcons released kicker Elliot Fry (again), along with outside linebacker George Obinna.
ALL the latest Falcons news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Falcons newsletter here!
Hesse’s Impressive College Career
Hesse—6-foot-3 and 261 pounds–entered the league as an undrafted free agent in the spring of 2019 after signing with the Titans.
Prior to joining the league, Hesse was a linebacker at Iowa and converted to defensive end during his first year there. Over the course of his college playing career (2015-19) he appeared in 52 games and was responsible for 182 total tackles, including 31 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Hesse was best-known for his relentlessly positive attitude, being a tireless worker as well as a team player. That helps explain the many awards he won as a Hawkeye. In 2018, he won the Big Ten Conference Sportsmanship Award, the school’s Hayden Fry Award (defense), the Coaches Appreciation Award, (defense), the Iron Hawk Award, and the Team Hustle Award (defense)––an award of which he won for three straight seasons.
Hesse will slide into the fourth tight end slot, but it would be surprising to see him flexed anytime soon with Kyle Pitts, Hayden Hurst and Lee Smith healthy and active.
Falcons Placed Obinna on Injured Reserve
The Falcons placed outside linebacker George Obinna on the practice squad Reserve/Injured List in September. Obinna–6-foot-3 and 240 pounds–is a former undrafted free agent out of Sacramento State who entered the NFL with the Cleveland Browns following the 2020 NFL Draft. He has yet to appear in a regular-season game.
Obinna played four seasons for the Hornets, recording 136 total tackles, 33.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 46 career games. He set the school’s single-season record for sacks (14) in his final collegiate season (2019).
The Falcons originally signed Obinna in June but released him in August before bringing him back to the practice squad.
Fry Made History at USC
As for Fry, he’s used to being bumped on and off the practice squad. The 26-year-old served in a similar role for most of 2020, where he spent the final 12 weeks of the Falcons practice squad before being booted. He was elevated to the active roster for one game, converting 1-of-1 field goals and 1-of-2 extra points against the Green Bay Packers in Week 4.
Fry, who kicked collegiately for South Carolina (2013-16) and remains a living legend as the leading scorer in Gamecocks history with 359 points. He has also spent time with the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, and Carolina Panthers and the Orlando Apollo of the Alliance of American Football (AAF).
Before coming to Atlanta, he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad but lost his job in early September when Tampa inked Ryan Succop.