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Former Ravens tight end Todd Heap isn’t coming back, at least not this year.
Heap agreed to a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, the team announced. The deal came while the free agent was reportedly visiting the New York Jets’ facility.
The Mesa, Ariz., native will return home. Heap also played college football at Arizona State.
In 10 seasons in Baltimore, Heap, 31, became the Ravens’ all-time leader in receiving touchdowns (41) and is second in receptions (467) and receiving yards (5,492).
He was officially released by Baltimore on Thursday as the team looked to clear cap space to make free agent signings this offseason. It was that cap space that helped allow Baltimore to sign Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach Sunday.
Head Coach John Harbaugh expressed interest in possibly bringing Heap back, presumably at a smaller price, but the team is excited to see the progression of its younger talent.
Baltimore drafted two pass-catching tight ends in the 2010 draft: Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.
Dickson filled in for Heap as a starter for three games last year when the veteran suffered a hamstring injury. The third-round draftee recorded 11 receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown and showed his top-notch athleticism and hands.
Pitta, who had one reception in 2010, will also have a chance to step into a larger role.
“It’s tough to see a good friend of yours leave,” Pitta said. “In his absence, myself and the other tight ends have to make plays and step into his shoes.”
The Ravens have now had eight free agents sign with other teams: Heap (Cardinals), wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth (Redskins), cornerback Josh Wilson (Redskins), guard/center Chris Chester (Redskins), running back Willis McGahee (Broncos), defensive tackle Kelly Gregg (Chiefs) and cornerback Fabian Washington (Saints).