In the previous installments of this series, I covered the defensive greats of the Ravens. However, we now go to the other side of the ball, offense. The franchise may not be known for its offensive superstars, but Baltimore has surely produced some very good players on offense.
"Heeeeaap!" was a chant that filled M&T Bank Stadium for many years, and it occurred when the Ravens fans were witnessing one of the best tight ends in the game, Todd Heap. For 10 seasons, Heap was arguably the Ravens' best receiving target. Despite being on a run-first team for many years, with Jamal Lewis leading the offense, and dealing with shaky quarterback play for most of his career, Heap still managed to record impressive stats. Heap posted 499 receptions for 5,869 receiving yards, and 42 touchdowns. He is the franchise's all-time leader in touchdown catches and second all-time in receptions and yards. Heap was also a 2x Pro Bowler, an All-Pro, and the Tight End of the Year in 2006.
Heap was a great guy, and a fan favorite, many wonder what his career could've been had he had better quarterbacks, as Heap was the victim of many errant Kyle Boller passes. Still, it's amazing what he did with the quarterbacks he had. Last season, Heap got the credit he deserved, as he was inducted into the Ravens' 'Ring of Honor' at M&T Bank Stadium last season. Heap said "It’s pretty surreal. There are a lot of special players in Ravens history. It’s going to be cool to be listed among them. You never know how deserving it is, but I was pumped and I think it’s going to be cool for years to come." Even though Heap left Baltimore for two seasons after being released, he always considered Baltimore his football home, saying "I have the fondest memories here from those 10 years of my life, there are so many stories. I think one of the coolest things and what everyone asks me about is what it feels like to come out of that tunnel and have everyone yelling your name. That’s an experience that you can’t really forget, and something that I’ll treasure and cherish forever." He and his wife even bought half a page of the Baltimore Sun, thanking the fans and the city for all that they had done.
The City of Baltimore and Ravens fans sure appreciate everything that Heap did for them too. He was truly a great guy, and a great player. One can only hope that guys like rookie TE Maxx Williams, who has drawn comparisons to Heap can follow in his footsteps.