One of the bigger surprises this offseason for the Ravens was the departure of Todd Heap, who like Derrick Mason, was a victim of Ozzie Newsome’s significant payroll reduction. Now a member of the Arizona Cardinals, Heap will return to M&T Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon and face the crowd who coined the infamous “HEEEEAAAAP” chant each and every time the tight end touched the ball.
As a tribute to the fans of Baltimore, Heap had this to say (or write) on a full page in the Baltimore Sun:
“For a decade, my wife Ashley, and I took great pride in calling Baltimore home. We greatly appreciated the way the city embraced our family and took us in as your own. We wanted to publicly and emphatically thank you for all of your incredible support over the years.
I would like to personally thank Art Modell for all that he has done, not only for me, but for the passionate people of Baltimore. Mr. Modell brought football back to the city and restored fans’ pride in cheering for their home team. Our thoughts are with Mr. Modell as he mourns the loss of his wonderful wife Pat. I would also like to thank not only Steve Bisciotti for his great leadership of the Ravens organization, but also all of those within the organization who have been like family to me. I have played with so many great Ravens teammates over the years, and am honored and proud to have stepped on the field with each of you. And last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank you…the fans. I am blessed to do what I do for a living. And I know that this great game is what it is because we have you supporting us. Your support has touched my family, and I will never forget the cheers of the crowd each and every time you roared “Heeeeap.” Ravens fans, you are tremendous!
Although it was not my decision to leave Baltimore, I accept that change is sometimes necessary. Certain that I have a few good years of football left in me, I’m excited about my future with the Arizona Cardinals. But the city of Baltimore will always be special to me and my family. Thank you for so many wonderful memories.”
While ex-teammates spent the week giving their thoughts on Heap and the lasting impressions he left on the organization, coach John Harbaugh put in his own two cents at the conclusion of practice this afternoon:
“As we’ve said many times, we appreciate everything Todd did here over a long period of time. Obviously, the three years that I had a chance to be associated with him, I couldn’t have been more impressed. The whole 10 years [he was] here were great for the city and great for the Ravens. He’s always appreciated.”