Milner lands on IR; Falcons sign ex-Lions TE Anderson

ATLANTA -- Rookie tight end Martrez Milner was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, ending his debut season because of an injury that he sustained in Sunday's victory over the Carolina Panthers.

To replace Milner on the roster, the Falcons claimed fourth-year veteran tight end Courtney Anderson off waivers. He will serve as the No. 3 tight end, behind starter Alge Crumpler, a fou-time Pro Bowl performer, and backup Dwayne Blakley.

Anderson, 26, is a former seventh-round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders who has never quite played up to his physical potential. At 6-feet-6, 270 pounds, Anderson has size and speed, and obviously presents a big target in the middle of the secondary. But he was released by the Raiders after three seasons this summer, signed with Detroit, and then recently cut by the Lions.

In 39 regular-season appearances, including 28 starts, the former San Jose State standout has 62 receptions for 763 yards and six touchdowns. Despite his size, Anderson is not a strong blocker, and is better noted for his receiving skills.

The Falcons like to have three tight ends active for most games, but it may take some time for Anderson to assimilate the offense, so it is uncertain right now when he might be able to contribute.

A fourth-round pick, Milner, who played at the University of Georgia, appeared in eight games, including two as a starter, and was primarily used as a blocker. He was plagued at times in college by inconsistency as a receiver, but demonstrated solid improvement in that area over the course of his first NFL season.

Milner, 23, had nine catches for 50 yards and also played on special teams units.

The severity of what was originally diagnosed as a high ankle sprain, and which had Milner in a walking boot, probably will not be known until later in the week.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.