Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/7/11
TEMPE, Ariz. Todd Heap has heard every insult that dissatisfied fans can lob at him. He's injury-prone. He's soft. He's too old. His response is always the same: a wide smile and a patient, better-informed explanation. "I've played through a lot of injuries. There are certain ones you can't play through," he said Wednesday. "If you look at how I play when I play and the number of snaps I've taken in various seasons, I'd put that up there with anybody. "I've got a lot of good football in me." The Cardinals thought the same when they signed Heap to a two-year free-agent deal this summer. The idea was to give quarterback Kevin Kolb a comfortable safety valve to be exploited the way the Eagles' offense used tight ends when Kolb was there. Things looked promising when Heap caught 10 passes combined in Weeks 3 and 4 promising until he tore a hamstring muscle that has kept him out of five games and severely limited him in the two others the Cards have played in the past eight weeks. "That was probably one of the most frustrating things for me," he said. "I saw the direction we were going offensively and I got hurt and Kevin got hurt, so we haven't had that time where we could really put it all together." Heap had high hopes when he returned to Arizona. He led Mesa Mountain View to two Class 5A state championships and had a penchant for acrobatic catches at Arizona State that earned him the nickname "The Golden Retriever." "I definitely wanted to play the way I know I'm capable of playing for the fans here, because this is home," he said. "But I tore (the hamstring) pretty good, and the healing process has been long and arduous. I might have pushed it a little bit too hard and too early. It's been frustrating, because you never know when to push it and when not to push it to get it right as soon as possible." As a result of the injury, coach Ken Whisenhunt said it's been impossible to pinpoint Heap's role in the offense. "As far as being able to target plays, design plays, put him in situations where you try to get matchups with him, we haven't been able to do that because he hasn't been on the field," Whisenhunt said. That could change this week. Whisenhunt said Sunday after a win over the Cowboys that Heap had finally turned the corner on the injury. Heap confirmed that on Wednesday. "There have been a lot of ups and downs but I finally feel like it's heading in the right direction," he said. As for those advancing years, Heap scoffed at the conventional NFL wisdom that his career is on its downside now that he has passed 30. "Age hasn't ever been a factor for me," he said. "It might be for other people. I'm in good shape and I don't feel like this is something that happened or the healing process has been (long) because of age. This was a different injury. "You can't pay attention to what people think. My main focus is getting healthy and helping us win games."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Cavaliers showing trade interest in Kings’ Ben McLemore

Report: Rockets shopping Dwight Howard

Jim Fassel takes issue with Cam Newton's warmup MVP cleats

Report: NFL upholds Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

Von Miller likely to get franchise tag from Broncos

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

USWNT start Olympic qualification in style by scoring in first 12 seconds

Magic Johnson wants Peyton Manning to join Rams

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

Franchise tag has been a useful tool for John Elway, Broncos

The 16 best NBA All-Star Game sneakers ever

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker