For 10 years, we heard the cheers echoing throughout M&T Bank Stadium.
Tomorrow afternoon, assuming Todd Heap plays, it’ll be interesting to see if those calls of “Heeeeeeeap” continue despite the Arizona Cardinals logo that now graces the tight end’s helmet.
(Thoughts, gang? Will you - or would you, if you aren’t attending the game - salute Heap if he makes a catch tomorrow?)
Heap will return to Baltimore tomorrow for the first time since being released by the Ravens this summer in a cost-cutting move. The 31-year-old is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury (an injury which has kept him out of Arizona’s last two games), but you’ve got to believe that if Heap is near full strength, he’ll try and give it a go against his former team.
The Ravens’ first-round pick back in 2001 still has a lot of love for the Baltimore area and the organization that drafted him, exhibited by the half-page ad he took out in the Baltimore Sun this week. Heap’s former teammates and coaches share that love, but that won’t stop them from viewing him as they would any other opponent once the game kicks off.
“I’ll be happy to see Todd,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “I like Todd a lot. He is a great guy. I had three good years with him here. He is obviously a big part of the Ravens’ tradition and an important part of the Ravens. But really, Sunday, to be honest with you, he is going to be a Cardinal. That’s how I am looking at it, and that’s how our team is looking at it.”
“The love is always going to be there off the field,” linebacker Ray Lewis added. “Of course, once you put on a different colored jersey, here we go again. If the ball comes his way, and it just happens I’m there, I might tap him on his shoulder a little bit.”
Heap won’t be the only player on the field tomorrow that’ll be squaring off against his former team.
Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin will take on the Cardinals for the first time since a 2010 trade brought him from Arizona to Baltmore, and while Heap might be a little nostalgic about taking on his old organization, Boldin doesn’t seem to have similar feelings.
The wide receiver laughed off a question about whether it will be weird to face his former squad and downplayed the significance of taking on the Cardinals. Those in Arizona, however, seem to fondly recall the days that Boldin was in the red and white.
Boldin’s longtime running mate, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, said that Boldin is missed and it will be nice to reunite with his buddy on Sunday.
“Football aside, I just miss him as a friend - seeing him every day, seeing A.J. (Anquan, Jr.), seeing his family, just talks we had every day,” Fitzgerald said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. “More so besides the football, I miss him just as a friend. But he is the ultimate competitor. I never played with a guy that played with as much passion and enthusiasm as he does on a day-to-day (basis). (He’s) just a fearless competitor, and it was great having him for seven years.”