In an interview with me Monday on “The Afternoon Drive” on AM1570 WNST, former Ravens Offensive Coordinator Jim Fassel echoed those thoughts about Heap.
“Todd Heap to me is the consummate player that every coach wants” said Fassel. “He comes to practice, he works, he pays attention, he’s a great athlete, he can play. If you’ve got a team of Todd Heaps you’re winning, you’re gonna be in the Super Bowl.”
When the ball went towards Todd Heap, good things tended to happen. You could trust him to not let you down. You never had the feeling he would drop a ball. Or fumble the ball. Or bail out on a route over the middle. Or run the wrong route. Or get a crushing penalty.
Todd Heap was simply a player who could be trusted to make plays when asked to, and he did it quite often.
Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome made the decision to let go of Todd Heap for economic reasons, knowing the team could save money by sticking with younger tight ends Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta and Davon Drew.
He can’t be blamed for the decision, as the team desperately needs the money to get under the $120 million salary cap the league and NFLPA agreed upon for 2011. The team believes Dickson and Pitta are ready to be more focal parts of their offense and will give them the opportunity to do just that.
While disappointing, Heap’s departure ultimately is easily justifiable from a football perspective.
That being said, the contributions Heap gave to the franchise and the city cannot be quickly forgotten.
While others have been superb performers during the franchise’s 15 year history, it would be hard to say there was one more steady than Heap.
While perhaps he never lived up to the potential superstar status we originally thought he might reach, he became quite the steady, consistent performer for a decade.
An entire city should be grateful for that.