Todd Heap returns with a flair


Tight end makes plays in first practice of camp; Webb's return won't be rushed

  • Ravens tight end Todd Heap returned to practice after missing two days of training camp because of swollen tonsils.
Ravens tight end Todd Heap returned to practice after missing… (Baltimore Sun photo by Amy…)
August 01, 2010|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

Suiting up for the first time at this year's training camp, Todd Heap had a busy and impressive day.

The longtime starting tight end passed his conditioning test 20 minutes before Sunday's morning practice at McDaniel College in Westminster and then caught two touchdown passes in a red-zone drill.

Heap was on the team's nonfootball illness list for the first two days of camp because of swollen tonsils.

"I'm still fighting through it," he said. "I felt good enough where I could go for it this morning."

The 10-year veteran said it was more than a typical cold.

"It knocked me out," he said. "There were three or four nights where I couldn't sleep. It was a battle."

It didn't take long for Heap and quarterback Joe Flacco to reconnect on the field because of the hard work they put in before camp. Flacco flew to Arizona to throw to Heap during the players' vacation time.

There were "a couple crossing routes where Joe threw it before Todd got into the window," coach John Harbaugh said, "and Todd looked fast."

A healthy Heap would be another weapon for the Ravens, who added wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth this offseason. Heap said this is probably the most talent that the Ravens' offense has had on paper since he joined the team in 2001.

"We've never worried about paper here," he said. "You guys can see -- we've got a lot of good players. But that doesn't mean anything. It just means we've got to go out there and get it done."

Webb doesn't feel pressured

Lardarius Webb is still recovering from surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, and he insisted that his timetable to return will not be affected by the absence of fellow cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who tore the ACL in his right knee Thursday and was placed on injured reserve Sunday; he will miss the 2010 season.

"It's not affecting me," Webb said. "I came into this situation looking to play anyway. I was looking to start, I was looking to play. So somebody's going to have to step up and take his spot, and I'm willing to do that. But I have to get back first. Opportunity -- have to look at it that way."

Webb said his knee continues to improve, but he declined to set a date for his activation off the team's physically-unable-to-perform list.

"I'm feeling good," he said. "I'll be back soon."

Cundiff gets reacquainted

Training camp is an experience that Billy Cundiff is still getting used to.

That's because the kicker hadn't been in training camp since 2007, when he was with the Atlanta Falcons. The two-a-days can be exhausting and the heat can be downright suffocating, but that's almost pleasant compared with what Cundiff dealt with in the past.

"I'm actually probably one of the few guys who looks forward to the little things because I'm here," he said. "It's not fun when you're sitting at home at this time of the year."

Cundiff, who is competing with Shayne Graham for the Ravens' primary kicking duties, has performed well, converting 19 of 22 attempts (86.4 percent) in the first three days of training camp. Graham has been slightly better, succeeding on 18 of 20 tries (90 percent).

These are the rules

A group of NFL officials visited Ravens training camp Sunday to review with the media several rules that will be emphasized during the coming season.

These included penalties for striking a defenseless player, who is defined as a player whose progress is stopped or impeded, with a blow to the head; penalties for launching into a tackle; and the play being whistled dead when a ball carrier's helmet comes off.

During punts and field goals, defensive players within a yard of the line of scrimmage must line up with their entire bodies, including their hands, outside the long snapper's shoulder pads. Also, after collisions between players and umpires resulted in three surgeries and two concussions last season, umpires will move from their usual position in the middle of the defense to the offensive backfield, opposite the referee.

End zone

The team released rookie wide receiver Rodelin Anthony to make room for guard Daniel Sanders, a former Colorado player who worked with the Ravens in the offseason before being waived by the team June 17. "The biggest problem is that we're short on numbers," Harbaugh said. "And Dan's a guy who was with us all through the offseason. So he knows how we work, he knows the offense, he's in shape. So we felt like part of the plan was to have guys that we could bring back if we needed to, and obviously on the offensive line, we needed to do that." Â Cornerback Fabian Washington (knee surgery) returned in the afternoon session after missing the morning session. Â Today's morning practice is closed to the public. Sunday was the last day with two full-contact practices.

Baltimore Sun reporter Edward Lee contributed to this article.

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