Rehabbing Heap Is Stuck on the Sideline
Thursday, August 4, 2005
WESTMINSTER, Md., Aug. 3 -- Todd Heap is trying to be as patient as he can, but it isn't easy. The Baltimore Ravens tight end is rehabilitating following two offseason surgeries and is limited at training camp.
Heap, along with running back Musa Smith, spends his time on the sideline running and cutting. Once practice ends, Heap works out with quarterbacks Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright to sharpen his routes and timing.
"I've never had an offseason like this, a surgery or injury, before," said Heap, the Ravens' top receiver in 2002 and '03. "It was real frustrating going in and spending another few hours before the workout on rehabbing and getting all the treatment. I'm used to just going out there and working hard and going after it."
Heap injured his ankle in the second game last season and was initially expected to be sidelined for two to four weeks. The injury healed slowly, and he ended up missing the next nine games. He also sat out of the season finale against Miami. During the offseason, he underwent surgery on the ankle and shoulder, which had been bothering him since before he hurt his ankle.
"I know my ankle's going to be able to handle it," said Heap, who received a six-year contract extension earlier in the summer. "I've spent a lot of time working on it, running, I know that will be ready. I'm less further out on my shoulder from the surgery, so I'm trying to get the strength back."
The plan has been for Heap to start practicing during the third week of training camp, with the hope that he will be able to participate in the Ravens' second preseason game, against Philadelphia on Aug. 20.
"We'll see how it feels as we keep going," Heap said. "If I'm ready, we'll be going. If not I'll shoot for the next one."
A year ago, Clarence Moore was something of a curiosity at training camp as the tall, lanky wide receiver taken in the fifth round of the 2004 draft from Northern Arizona. He ended up making the team and became one of the biggest surprises, starting six of the final eight games. Mark Clayton, the Ravens' first-round draft pick, was supposed to challenge Moore for the second starting wide receiver job opposite veteran Derrick Mason, but Clayton remains unsigned and has yet to report to camp.
"For me, whether Clayton was here or not, that's the mentality you've got to take," Moore said. "Clayton's still got a lot to prove. I've still got a lot to prove."
At 6 feet 6, Moore towers over his fellow wide receivers (with the exception of 6-4 rookie free agent Tommy Manus). The Ravens found ways to use his height and athletic ability last season; in Baltimore's 37-14 win over the New York Giants, for instance, Boller essentially lobbed two passes that Moore leapt high for to grab for touchdowns.
Moore spent nearly all of his offseason in Owings Mills, either working out in the weight room or out on the practice field with Boller. His goal was to bulk up before training camp; he reported at 220 pounds, up from last year's listed weight of 211.
"Clarence Moore had an outstanding offseason, and it's going to take a lot to displace Clarence from that position," Ravens Coach Brian Billick said. "It's certainly not going to happen from somebody who's not even here."
J. Lewis's Return Is Delayed
The team announced that the earliest running back Jamal Lewis will report to Westminster is Monday. Lewis, who was released from an Atlanta halfway house after completing a federal drug sentence, was expected to rejoin the team on Thursday. When asked to explain the delay, Billick replied, "God and the U.S. government only knows."