Heap hoping to play

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

December 20, 2007|By DON MARKUS | DON MARKUS,SUN REPORTER

Ravens tight end Todd Heap made it through an entire practice yesterday in Owings Mills. That might not seem like that big a deal, except that Heap hasn't been able to do it for at least the past two weeks in what has been an 11-week hamstring injury.

Heap injured the hamstring in a Sept. 30 loss at Cleveland, reinjured it trying to make a jump-ball catch in the end zone two weeks later in a win over the St. Louis Rams at M&T Bank Stadium and hurt it again in practice a few weeks ago.

Heap is hoping he'll be able to play Sunday in Seattle against the Seahawks.

"It's frustrating," Heap said. "It's beyond me because I don't know exactly what's going on or how it's healing. All I know is that every time I really pressed the issue and sprinted, that's when it didn't react well."

Heap has had other injuries during his seven-year NFL career and even played with torn ligaments in his ankle for four games toward the end of the 2004 season.

"The hamstring is a different monster than I've ever dealt with," Heap said. "When I tore ligaments in my ankle, I was able to come back knowing it was torn. I said, `I know it's torn, tape it up,' and I played the last few games like that. I was playing at not a very high percentage of what I was capable of, but the hamstring is different. You can't push it like that."

Neuheisel's homecoming

Offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel will be in a familiar place this weekend. Neuheisel, in his third season with the Ravens, was the coach at Washington for four seasons before being fired in 2003.

"My memories are fond; the ending was no fun, but we won a lot of games while I was there and we made a lot of friends. They were some very rewarding times," Neuheisel said. "I have no ill will toward the city nor the people nor the school."

It will be Neuheisel's second trip to the West Coast this week. Several Los Angeles news outlets reported yesterday that Neuheisel had his second interview Tuesday regarding the coaching vacancy at UCLA, his alma mater.

Neuheisel confirmed yesterday that he has had "contact" with UCLA, where he went from walk-on to a Rose Bowl hero in 1984 and later served as quarterbacks coach, tutoring Troy Aikman, among others.

"I am remaining mum other to say that as an alum, I wish them the very best," Neuheisel said. "All of us want to see that football program on top."

McGahee not upset over Pro Bowl

Running back Willis McGahee could be on the brink of his best season in the NFL. His 1,197 yards are only 50 shy of his career best, set in 2005. McGahee is also third in the AFC and fourth overall in the NFL.

McGahee wasn't upset, or surprised, at being named the second alternate to the Pro Bowl.

"I've been in this situation before, as far as when I was in Buffalo and Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl," McGahee said. " ... I was upset then, but I learned you can't get upset over little things like that because you can't control that."

Injury update

Quarterback Kyle Boller was sent home yesterday, still feeling the effects of the mild concussion he suffered against the Miami Dolphins. Linebacker Ray Lewis also didn't practice because of the finger he dislocated in the second half of the 22-16 overtime defeat.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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