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
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Stephen Strasburg expected to make next start for Nats

John Lackey makes history, hits four batters in one game

Report: Suns G Brandon Knight suffers torn ACL

The Cavaliers have one unhappy star and three options

Garrett walks out on media over Whitehead questions

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

D-Rose landing in Cleveland could be good for Cavs, himself

Former Penn St. K Joey Julius ‘in full recovery’ in battle with eating disorder

LeBron James slams report that he wants to fight Kyrie Irving

Report: Rangers would trade Yu Darvish for ‘right deal’

Report: Thunder interested in trading for Carmelo Anthony

Mayweather says he will stand ‘toe to toe’ with McGregor

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

The most memorable moments from the class of 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

28 MLB trade deadline deal prospects since 2000 who went on to become All-Stars

Box Score 7/25: The pressure of the trade deadline is here

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

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 Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. 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

The 'Kyrie revolts against the King' quiz

BIG3 Ref Hotline Bling: James White slams the phone down

The 'When George Brett went completely batty' quiz

Finding the possible Achilles' heel for baseball’s best teams

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

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