What's this? Jets coach Rex Ryan is courting a former Raven who he knows well from his tenure in Baltimore?
The New York Daily News is reporting that tight end Todd Heap, who was cut by the Ravens early this week, is visiting with the Jets this weekend, and in typical Ryan fashion, the former defensive coordinator in Baltimore was waiting to greet Heap at the airport and gave him a big bear hug.
The Jets already have a quality tight end on their roster in Dustin Keller, so Heap's playing time might be limited a bit in New York. But we all know that Ryan is a terrific salesman, and players love playing for him. It's possible Heap joins Rex to give the Jets a strong two-tight end set.
Ryan has either signed or attempted to sign a number of former Ravens since taking over as head coach of the Jets, including linebacker Bart Scott, safety Jim Leonhard, defensive ends Trevor Pryce and Marques Douglas, and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg, who just recently signed with the Chiefs.
Heap has also drawn attention from the Cardinals since being cut by the Ravens. Those in the Ravens' front office still hope to bring the Pro Bowl tight end back at a discount rate from his original 2011 salary, but will have to compete with at least a couple other suitors.
Switching gears a bit, I wanted to include a note about rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith, who, as I wrote yesterday, expects to start for the Ravens Week 1.
The Ravens haven't had a cornerback prospect with Smith's size (6-foot-2, 211-lbs.) and ability since three-time Pro Bowler Chris McAlister was lining up out wide at M&T Bank Stadium. The comparisons are easy to make when it comes to on-field aspects.
But recently, Smith said that he doesn't want to fully follow in McAlister's footsteps.
"I hear a lot of comparisons but I haven't seen his game or how he plays," Smith said. "But I also hear a lot of things that I don't want to fall into that he did."
Interesting. I wonder who Smith is hearing these "things" from.
McAlister didn't have the best reputation off the field, (the Ravens weren't thrilled with his penchant for partying hard) and to this point, neither has Smith. But the 23-year-old says he's ready to deliver on gamedays and live up to the high expectations that will be placed on him as a first-round pick.
"I know it's a lot of pressure, but it's more pressure when you guys say it to me," Smith said. "I'm just going to go do what I can do. I can't do anything extra; I can't do anything less. I'm going to go play the game that I can play, and if I start, I start. If I don't, I'm going to contribute some other way."