Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 11/28/12
TEMPE, Ariz. This wasnt the way it was supposed to end. Not for a local legend. Not for Todd Heap. When the Cards signed him to a two-year deal in July of 2011, it was thought that Heap would provide a safety blanket for newly acquired quarterback Kevin Kolb, who loved to throw to tight end Brent Celek in Philadelphia and needed time to learn the intricacies of the offense. Heap came to the Cardinals on the heels of 10 seasons with Baltimore, where he was the Ravens career leader in receiving touchdowns (41) and was second in receptions (467) and receiving yards (5,492). In 2010, Heap had 40 catches for 599 yards and five touchdowns and he caught a franchise postseason record 10 passes for 108 yards against Kansas City. But NFL careers rarely have Hollywood endings. Last season, Heap missed six games with injuries and only started four. This season, in Week 2, he sprained a knee ligament on an illegal hit out of bounds against New England and hasnt played since. It is frustrating, said Heap, who won two state championships at Mesa Mountain View and then when on to a storied career at Arizona State. But you cant let it get you down. You just have to keep your head down and keep working to get better. For eight weeks, we were told that Heaps absence was a product of the injury, even if it seemed odd that a sprain would keep a player out that long. But Heap returned to practice on a full basis last week, so when he was declared inactive via a coachs decision, eyebrows were raised. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Wednesday that Sundays decision was a product of the time off. Reps in practice, he said. Youve got to get ready to play, and thats part of it. Heap acknowledged there is some rust from that much time off, but he also hinted at one point that the decision to sit him on Sunday was a numbers game. It is no secret that Whisenhunt had a recent talk with Heap. Some have speculated that Whisenhunt was calling Heap out for not playing through some pain while the team has been mired in a seven-game losing streak. Thats always going to bother you, Heap said of such speculation. I dont think youd be a competitor if it didnt bother you, but you cant let it change how you look at things, how you prepare, and its not going to change how you feel. Theres always a lot more that goes into any injury, but its not for me to comment on; its not for me to raise as an issue. I just have to let people think what they think and worry about what I can do. Heap admits thats hard. Its hard to watch that to hear it and be a part of it but it comes with the territory. For me to comment on it or say what I think serves no purpose. Even doing interviews, its hard to comment on it and tell people exactly whats going on. One thing that seems all too clear is that Heaps days in Arizona are numbered. In his absence, the Cards have gotten a good long look at his replacement, tight end Rob Housler, who is the franchises future at the position. Ive seen him get better, Whisenhunt said. Hes gotten a lot of play time, and thats helped him. Hes made some big plays for us. The Cards also have Jeff King and Jim Dray, so when Heap says tight end is a numbers game, it carries dual meaning. It is highly unlikely that Heap will return to the Cards next season. Will the 12-year veteran return to the NFL? I dont really give that evaluation until the season is over and done with, so theres no point in speculating, he said. But I definitely dont want to finish my career on a year like this. As for this week, Heap hopes that stacking a few practices with plenty of reps together can land him back on the field. But as we learned Sunday, that will be the coachs decision. Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jay Feely: Gisele tried to get me to convince Tom Brady to retire

Law enforcement to keep close eye on Tom Brady’s jersey, other items at Super Bowl

Raiders to make a run at Le’Veon Bell if he becomes free agent?

LaVar Ball to serve as assistant coach on sons' Euro team

Report: Cavs question Love’s illness at ’emotional’ meeting

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Robby Anderson's lawyer: WR did not threaten sexual assault, was racially profiled

Report: Sean Payton high on Baker Mayfield

One-handed NFL prospect shared amazing message about disabilities

Austin Jackson agrees to two-year deal with Giants

Bucks fire coach Jason Kidd

Report: Kawhi’s injury rehab straining relationship with Spurs

How the New England Patriots arrived at Super Bowl LII

Position-by-position breakdown of Super Bowl LII teams

The 'More things change...' quiz

The Chicago Bulls' future is on the clock

Behind the scenes: History of the Super Bowl in pictures

Oldest players to ever be on Super Bowl rosters

Players with the most Super Bowl appearances

Top takeaways from NFL Championship Sunday

Six incredible stats from the Belichick/Brady era in Boston

Sports & Politics Intersect: Nassar's victims put USA Gymnastics, MSU on trial

The 'One of these things is not like the other' quiz

Top 25 times franchise players have changed scenes in MLB

Cardinals 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 Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Position-by-position breakdown of Super Bowl LII teams

Oldest players to ever be on Super Bowl rosters

The 'More things change...' quiz

How the New England Patriots arrived at Super Bowl LII

Players with the most Super Bowl appearances

Behind the scenes: History of the Super Bowl in pictures

Sports & Politics Intersect: Nassar's victims put USA Gymnastics, MSU on trial

Top 25 times franchise players have changed scenes in MLB

The 'One of these things is not like the other' quiz

The best college hoops games to watch down the stretch

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