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Strong preseason not enough for ex-Central standout J.D. McKissic

Falcons wide receiver J.D. McKissic runs into Jaguars outside linebacker Sean Porter during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 1.
Falcons wide receiver J.D. McKissic runs into Jaguars outside linebacker Sean Porter during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 1. AP

Despite a strong showing in the four preseason games, it wasn’t enough for the Atlanta Falcons to keep J.D. McKissic on the roster.

The former Central standout was one of five players waived Saturday as the Falcons trimmed their roster down the NFL-mandated 53, according to a report on ajc.com.

McKissic was in a battle with Nick Williams for the final wide receiver position with Eric Weems and Devil Fuller for the kick returner spots.

“Both Nick and J.D. have totally battled for it through the competition,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn told ajc.com. “It was a very tough decision to make regarding those two. It could have gone either way. One had more versatility on offense. One maybe on teams. It was a great battle.”

McKissic was an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State.

The 5-foot-11, 193-pounder returned a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown in the second half of Atlanta’s preseason opener.

He finished the four-game preseason with 202 kickoff return yards on four tries. He finished with eight catches for 79 yards.

“I just try to be destined for greatness,” McKissic told atlantafalcons.com on Thursday. “I just work hard at my craft and try to be the best that I can be. I’ll try to get anywhere I can on the field. If it was meant for me to get drafted, I would have gotten drafted. Therefore, it was meant for me to be a free agent.

I think I played pretty good,” McKissic told atlantafalcons.com. “I kind of just tried to show the coaches that I can help out. Just tried to show this team I can help them out. I think I fit in perfectly (with the offense). I feel like I can help out in a lot of ways. I had an opportunity to make a few plays. Just to be here, man, at the end of the day, I’m blessed. Whatever happens, happens.”

McKissic could be claimed off waivers by another team. If not, he could sign with another team, or the Falcons may sign him to their 10-man practice squad.

Philip Wheeler (Shaw) remains as a backup linebacker for the Falcons, who open the regular season on Sept. 11 at home against Tampa Bay.

Kevin Price: 706-320-4493, @lesports

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