Mark Andrews surely knew Hayden Hurst wanted more of an opportunity than he could get in Baltimore. The two players – both drafted by the Ravens in 2018 – are extremely close friends and two-thirds of what was the NFL's best tight end trio last season.
Still, when you see that your friend and teammate is traded, it has to be jarring.
"First of all, it was kind of a shock for me. Selfishly, Hayden being one of my best friends, I'm kind of sad I won't be able to have him next year, I won't be able to talk to him much," Andrews said. "But I'm mostly excited for him. I'm excited for him to get more of an opportunity with Atlanta."
After a frustrating rookie season derailed by a preseason foot injury, Hurst showed his potential as a sophomore. He caught 30 of 39 targets for 349 yards and two touchdowns.
Considering the Falcons, who lost Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper to the Cleveland Browns in free agency, threw the ball significantly more than any other team in the league last year, Hurst will get plenty of Matt Ryan passes thrown his way next year.
"I know he'll thrive there. He's a great player," Andrews said. "But, personally, I'm sad, I know Nick [Boyle] is sad. The three-headed monster got broken up a bit."
In Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman's unique system, and because they had so much talent at the position, Baltimore used three tight ends more than any other team in the NFL. It remains to be seen how the Ravens will adjust, or who they will add to the group. The draft is the most likely route.
"We're going to be just fine," Andrews said. "Nick and I are going to do our jobs and obviously we're going to find someone else to help us out."
On the surface, Andrews could be in for an even larger share of targets – and he already led the team with 98 last season. Rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown was targeted 71 times, Willie Snead 46, Boyle 43 and Hurst 39 to round out the top-five.
Andrews hauled in 64 passes for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He led the team in all three receiving categories, developing a "street ball" connection with MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens' willingness to trade Hurst obviously speaks to the faith they have in Andrews and Boyle to carry the load.
"I don't think I'll ever change. I always have a big chip on my shoulder," Andrews said. "I've always been someone who wants to take the next step and be great – each and every year getting better. I think I had a good year last year but it's all about improving on that. I don't feel any extra pressure with Hayden being gone."