Ravens To Release Key Players

John Harbaugh confirmed that Todd Heap and others will be released.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 at 10:16 am | Categories: Mike Duffy

As players trickled into team headquarters Tuesday morning, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed that the club informed four key veterans that they would be released.

The list includes wideout Derrick Mason, tight end Todd Heap, defensive tackle Kelly Gregg and running back Willis McGahee, all players who have made significant contributions in recent
years.

When the moves happen – Thursday at 4:01 p.m. – the Ravens could clear a reported $18.6 million against the $120.375 salary cap for the 2011 campaign.

Harbaugh said that any of them could potentially be brought back.

“It’s just the reality of the salary cap. Going forward, we’ve got to try to make the best team we can,” Harbaugh told the assembled media. “That’s not that we’re ruling anything out.”

Mason told 105.7 The Fan that he understood why the Ravens would be compelled to take such action.

“It’s a little bittersweet,” Mason said Monday afternoon. “I understand the business of football, and I understand what has to be done in the business of football. It was good while I was there. I can’t hang my head down. I think I did everything above and beyond what they asked me to do when I came in there six years ago. And I think everybody in that building can attest to that. If last year truly was my last year in a Ravens uniform, then I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.

“I appreciate every moment, and every cheer. Every autograph that I gave, I gave because I wanted to give it. I love that city. I love the people inside of it. I don’t think there is a better city that you can play for than Baltimore. They embraced me through the ups and the downs, and I truly, from the bottom of my heart will always be appreciative and love those fans in Baltimore.”

The 37 year old is the Ravens’ franchise leader in receptions (471) and receiving yards (5,777), playing six years in Baltimore.

Heap, 31, is Baltimore’s all-time leader with 41 touchdown grabs and ranks second in catches and yards behind Mason.

The Ravens do have solid depth at both positions with tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta coming in the 2010 draft and wideouts Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss joining the team this year.

McGahee totaled 1,207 rushing yards in 2007, but has transitioned into more of a goal-line back, tying a franchise record with 14 touchdowns in 2009. McGahee only carried the ball 100 times for 380 yards and five scores last season.

As for Gregg, who has been with the Ravens since 2001, the productive interior tackle posted 39 tackles in 2010. The 11-year veteran had hit the 100-tackle mark four times in his career, which is rare for a nose tackle.

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