Arizona Cardinals release TE Todd Heap

The Arizona Cardinals have released Todd Heap, bringing an end

to the former All-Pro tight end’s brief, injury-plagued time in the

desert.

Heap, who is one catch shy of 500 career receptions, appeared in

just two games with Arizona this season, catching eight passes for

94 yards. Over the past two seasons with the Cardinals, Heap

appeared in 12 games, catching 32 passes for 377 yards and one

touchdown.

A first-round draft pick by Baltimore out of Arizona State in

2001, he played for the Ravens for 10 seasons. He was an All-Pro

selection in 2002 and made the Pro Bowl in 2002 and 2003. Heap is

the Ravens’ career leader in receiving touchdowns and is second in

receptions and yards receiving. He was released by Baltimore

following the 2010 season.

To fill the roster spot, Arizona signed former San Diego tight

end Kory Sperry.

There were indications that Heap had fallen out of favor with

coach Ken Whisenhunt when the tight end was inactive the past two

games despite being able to practice fully the last two weeks.

Asked on Monday why Heap had been inactive, Whisenhunt said,

”Well, he’s got to show us that he’s full speed to be able to go,

and that hasn’t been the case.”

Arizona linebacker Quentin Groves tweeted some words about

Heap’s departure.

”Great guy and even better teammate,” Groves wrote. ”The true

definition of the word PRO. Todd Heap thanks for everyone bro.. And

the good battles we had!”

Heap played in the first two games of the season, catching five

passes for 62 yards in Arizona’s 20-18 victory over New England. He

was inactive with a knee injury for the next eight games, then

returned to full practice.

The 32-year-old player is tied for ninth with Ben Coates for

receptions by a tight end. He ranks 12th in NFL history for tight

end yards receiving.

An undrafted rookie out of Colorado State, Sperry played in

eight games with Miami in 2009. He was with the Chargers the

following two seasons. In 2011, Sperry appeared in 16 games, four

as a starter. He has eight catches for 136 yards and one touchdown

in 31 NFL games. He was released by the Chargers on Aug. 31.

Rob Housler and Jeff King are the other tight ends on the

Arizona roster.

Tuesday’s moves came with the Cardinals mired in an eight-game

losing streak and coming off of one of the worst offensive

performances in franchise history in Sunday’s 7-6 loss to the New

York Jets. They play at Seattle on Sunday.

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