Heap Talks Siragusa, Sharpe, Bisciotti, Pitta and Flacco Fashion
Todd Heap, the outstanding Ravens tight end, will be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor this Sunday at halftime. The second-leading receiver in Ravens history is humbled by this distinction and was most willing yesterday to talk about some of the people and experiences in his life.
We played word association. I threw out a name or a phrase, and Todd said the first thing that came to his mind.
Here's that collection:
HEEEEAP: "A rush of emotions. Makes me want to suit up. The best fans in the NFL."
TONY SIRAGUSA: "A grizzly bear of a man and a teddy bear on the inside."
HARD KNOCKS:"Television watched the youngest 21-year-old to ever come into the NFL."
ART MODELL: "I miss him. One of the most favorite guys I've ever been around."
CRABCAKES: "Love them. We don't have crabs in Arizona, and the first time my wife Ashley had them here … well, the look on her face."
THE STEELERS:"They're my second-favorite team. That surprises people when I say that. But, I say it because I had so many good games against them. No better rivalry. No better atmosphere on gameday. No better feeling than when you beat them. You had to be at your best to beat them."
RAY LEWIS:"The best leader the NFL has ever seen."
BRIAN BILLICK:"An excellent motivator and head coach."
JOHN HARBAUGH: "Detailed. Attentive. A true leader. His teams are prepared."
PLAY LIKE A RAVEN: "Teamwork. Perfect words."
SHANNON SHARPE:"Wow! Can't describe that guy in a few words. Great mentor, teammate, a consummate professional. The guy who taught me to be a pro."
DENNIS PITTA: "One of my closest friends. Saw he was a special guy from Day One. Feel like I'm going through his injury with him. You want what's best for him and his family. Hope he comes back, because he's one of the best persons in the NFL."
JOE FLACCO: "Undeterred, quiet leader. Unstoppable. From Day One, we all saw he was special. The smoothest, biggest arm I've ever seen. Knows how to read the team and get them to play better."
FLACCO, THE COMPETITOR:"Special. Might be the most confident competitor I've ever met. If he makes a bad play, and we all make them, watch out for the next play, because he has already forgotten the bad one and is now going to beat you."
FLACCO, THE FRIEND: "Great person, great father and husband. Great friend. Has his own style. Oh, you'll like this – he cares very much about fashion and loves to talk about it. He appreciates looking his best, and he thinks he dresses sweet."
STEVE BISCIOTTI:"Bar none, the best owner in the NFL. Love the way he runs the Ravens, and I have the utmost respect for him. Takes responsibility. Is accountable. He's surrounded by outstanding people, and he lets them do their jobs. Could any other owner handle the current crisis like him? Could any other owner do that press conference like he did on Monday? A man of character."
OZZIE NEWSOME: "Huge reason for the Ravens' continued success. To do what he did as a player, a Hall of Famer, to becoming one of the elite general managers in sports. Think of all the great players he has brought to the Ravens. Amazing!"
FAMILY: "I love my wife, and I love my kids and the opportunity to raise them. I don't think there's anything more important in life than being a good husband and father. I will work my whole life to continue to do that. I want to be the best example to our children."
M&T BANK STADIUM: "Nostalgic. The classiest stadium. It's the best place to play. I was there yesterday. So many warm and exciting memories."
RING OF HONOR: "What an honor, what an honor! To have my name up there, so special. Words can't describe how this makes me feel. I'm appreciative. It makes me think of all the great guys who paved the way for me, my teammates, my coaches – the fans. It's just such an honor. I'm humbled."
Funny Scene In Cleveland
I wasn't there to see this, but someone on the sideline described it, and John Harbaugh verified it. In the first quarter, the Ravens ran a play with running back Justin Forsett to the right side, near our bench. At the end of the play, the Browns' giant defensive tackle, Phil Taylor (6-3 and 340 pounds), pounced on Justin – and Coach Harbaugh thought the hit was late.
"Hey, that's a late hit. Throw the flag," Harbaugh yelled. "Hey, Bill [Leavy, the game's referee], you guys have to see that. That's a late hit. He knows he hit him late. Fred, you hit him late."
(Fred Taylor is the leading rusher in Jacksonville Jaguars history.)
"PHIL Taylor turned to me and said, 'My name's not Fred. It's Phil, and it wasn't a late hit," Harbaugh said. "Before I could apologize, PHIL was already hustling back to the middle of the field. In the second quarter, when Dennis [Pitta] was hurt, I went to the field to check on him. I ran into Paul [Kruger, former Raven] and asked him to apologize to Phil for calling him Fred.
"Typical of Paul – he looked at me and said, 'His name is Phil.'
"I'm not sure he delivered my message."
Let's deliver a message to the Panthers. Let's beat Carolina!
Talk with you next week,