Heiden has appeared in nearly every Browns game since that time, missing significant time only in 2003, and amassing nearly 200 catches from the tight end position, including a career-high of 43 in 2005.
In 2008, however, Heiden ran into trouble like so many other members of the Browns roster, suffering an ACL tear in his right knee during the team's 30-10 pounding at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Is that it for Heiden? What are his chances of returning?
The OBR's John Taylor has an exclusive update on Heiden's progress:
Steve Heiden is expected back in Cleveland the first week of February and will begin an extensive rehab program in the middle of that month.
Currently he's on a little "R&R", and doing a series of range-of-motion exercises following the surgery on his torn ACL/MCL. Roughly five weeks after undergoing the procedures, he has experienced no setbacks.
Both Heiden and the trainers feel he will be ready to go for the first game of the season. While he's seemingly ahead of schedule, it's unclear at this time whether or not he will be available for the beginning of training camp.
Needless to say, OTAs and minicamps are out of the question.