Miscue can't keep Heap down for long

He shakes off bad read, grabs pass between two

April 30, 2001|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Todd Heap passed his first test with the Ravens yesterday.

The challenge came on the third and final day of minicamp after the rookie tight end didn't adjust to a "hot" read and quarterback Elvis Grbac hit him square in the back.

Heap only needed a few plays to shake off the embarrassment, going 20 yards down the seam and making an over-the-shoulder catch between two defenders in the end zone.

The highlight of the last practice even drew some compliments from veteran defensive backs Chris McAlister and Corey Harris watching in the background.

"When something like that happens, you have to put it behind you," said Heap, the 31st pick overall in the recent draft.

"I know once I learn everything, I'll be able to make all the adjustments and make those plays. Right now, I'm trying to catch the ones in front of me that I can see and make the plays that are expected of me. I'll be fine if I just do that."

After his first extended look at the former Arizona State standout, Ravens coach Brian Billick came away impressed with the athleticism of the 6-foot-5, 252-pound Heap.

"He's got a fluidness about him that you don't see a lot in big men," Billick said.

"And he's in great shape. It's very rare that a rookie comes in and after their first minicamp doesn't have a groin or a hamstring [injury], because they're not used to running at the pace that we do at this level. He's had a great weekend. He's as good as advertised."

Heap faced a steep learning curve during minicamp. The Ravens handed him a thick playbook but little meeting time.

That's why he had to rely on his resiliency as much as his talent to survive his first NFL experience. His next lesson will come May 14-17 at the team's first passing camp.

"He's not going to let things bother him," tight ends coach Wade Harman said. "He's going to let that stuff run off his back. What I've noticed is when I've told him something once, I haven't had to tell him again. He doesn't repeat his mistakes."

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