Just as Heap was getting ready to tee off, he saw that Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti was calling. Bisciotti wanted to be the first person to tell Heap he would go into in the team’s Ring of Honor this year.
“I’m not speechless too often, but it was pretty cool to hear that from our owner,” Heap said. “He’s a good man that knows how to run things the right way and has really put together a first class organization.”
Heap will be the eighth Ravens player enshrined in the Ring of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium. Former Ravens Owner Art Modell and eight members of the Baltimore Colts are also in the Ring.
The Ravens long-time tight end will join former enshrined teammates in linebackers Ray Lewis and Peter Boulware, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, kicker Matt Stover, running back Jamal Lewis, and defensive end Michael McCrary.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Heap said. “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.”
Heap, 34, played 12 seasons in the NFL before retiring last year. He spent the first 10 years of his career in Baltimore, where he built an impressive resume.
The 31st-overall pick in the 2001 draft caught 467 passes for 5,492 yards and 41 touchdowns in a Ravens uniform. His 41 touchdown catches are the most in team history, and he is only behind wide receiver Derrick Mason in career receptions and yards.
Heap played two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals after being released by the Ravens in 2011, but he said there is “no question” that he always considered Baltimore his football home.
“I have the fondest memories here from those 10 years of my life,” Heap said. “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.”
Heap will have one more chance to come out of that tunnel to hear the fans call out his name in the signature “Heeeeaap” cheer.
“When you you’re retired, there are only a few things that you really, really miss,” Heap said. “And one of those is the gameday, especially at M&T Bank because you can’t duplicate that anywhere else in your life, especially with the fans the way they are in Baltimore. They’re incredible.”