Once Todd Heap touched the football, 70,000 Ravens fans would let the opposing team know about it.
From the top of the nosebleed seats down to the field, Ravens fans chanted HEEEEEEEAP in unison. Now the former Ravens tight end and 2001 first-round draft pick will be forever remembered as his name will hang from the rafters from the stadium he called his home for a decade.
Earlier today, the Ravens have announced the Heap will become the latest induction into their Ring of Honor.
Ravens fans watched Heap grow up before their eyes. Thanks to HBO's Hard Knocks, Heap's introduction to the NFL as a rookie was one of the first and most in-depth looks as to what an NFL newcomer experiences both on and off the field. Heap went from a first-round pick from Arizona State to getting married to his wife, Ashley, just two weeks before truing camp began. While Heap may have been excited to make football his career, he was immediately put into his place by veteran teammates Tony Siragusa and Shannon Sharpe as their busboy in the team cafeteria.
Aside from his entertaining off-field life as a rookie, Heap went on to have a very productive NFL career. Heap still holds the franchise record with 41 touchdowns and his 467 receptions for 5,492 yards were most in team history, until they were broken by wide receiver Derrick Mason.
Both Heap and Mason would be released by the Ravens on the same day in a widely unpopular but necessary move for the team on July 28, 2011.
Heap would go on to play for two more seasons with his hometown Arizona Cardinals, but spent more time on the sidelines injured than on the field playing. In total, he only had 12 appearances in the two-year contract span he had with the team.
Now retired, Heap has still made multiple visits back to Baltimore. Most notably, Heap flew back to Baltimore to honor the life of Art Modell appearing at M&T Bank Stadium during the public viewing for the former Ravens owner.
Heap has always been a fan favorite in Baltimore and I personally can't wait to scream HEEEEEEAP from the top of my lungs one more time.