Everyone loves the story of the little guy.
The one who is hard to root against. One who defies the odds. For a 5’8, 180-pound receiver from Iowa City, Iowa, the odds were substantially against him. Yet, former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Tim Dwight found a way to carve out a 10-year career in the NFL, including a Super Bowl appearance during his rookie season as a Falcon.
Coming out of the University of Iowa, Dwight was a stick of dynamite for the Hawkeyes with 27 touchdowns on offense during his last three seasons, along with averages of 15.7 yards per punt return and 20.7 per kick return over the span of his career. It also did not hurt his cause in the NFL that he was a standout track star while at Iowa.
So the Falcons, led by head coach Dan Reeves, decided to make Dwight an addition to the organization in the 1998 NFL Draft. Of course, selecting a small receiver in the fourth round was met with frowns and a sprinkle of head scratches. But for the role that Atlanta needed Dwight for, you can make a legitimate case it was a success.
As a rookie, Dwight was third in the NFL in 1998 in yards per kick return with 27.0. During that same season, Dwight posted six games in which he totaled over 80 yards of kick returns, including back-to-back outings with 127 and 169 yards in kick returns respectively. In Super Bowl XXXIII, Dwight scored the team’s first touchdown of the game with a 94-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter to provide some kind of silver lining in an otherwise discouraging game. He also turned that performance into the second-most kick return yards in a Super Bowl in NFL history.
Dwight’s second season was a bit more productive as he totaled 1,861 all-purpose yards that season, which included a career-high in receiving yards (669) and receiving touchdowns (7).
But what Dwight is also known for amongst the Falcons contingent is his inclusion in what may be the biggest trade in Falcons team history. Sending Dwight to the Chargers in April of 2001 allowed the Falcons to get the first overall pick in the draft, which turned out to be former quarterback Michael Vick.
While he provided only three seasons of work, mainly as a returner, and was sent off for a rookie quarterback, Dwight built a solid reputation as a returner during his time in Atlanta.