Todd Heap - Never a Cardinals fan

OWINGS MILLS - Todd Heap established himself as an elite tight end on the Arizona State campus. While setting records for the Sun Devils, the future Baltimore Ravens' Pro Bowl tight end kept an eye on the local NFL franchise. The Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore's opponent Sunday at Sun Devil Stadium, were something of a cautionary tale. So, Heap paid more attention to the Cardinals' opponents, especially when the San Francisco 49ers or Dallas Cowboys came to town.

"I think ASU gets more fans probably than the Cardinals," said Heap, who starred at Mountain View High in nearby Mesa. "I paid attention to them because they were the home team, but I wasn't really a big fan."I don't know a whole lot of people that were. After our college games, I would watch them because they were playing in our stadium. I was a frontrunner."

LINEUP SHUFFLE: Fullback Harold Morrow's return this week from a cracked elbow requires another shift on the active roster to account for his special-teams presence."I'm back on the job and ready to bust up the wedge," Morrow said Friday.Will new receiver and return specialist Dedric Ward be activated days following Ron Johnson's knee injury? Or will Baltimore opt for rookie running back Musa Smith? "I'm not sure if they're going to use me or not," Smith said.Fullback Ovie Mughelli is another special-teams option. Ward spent this week with his nose buried in the playbook."I learned what I need to know to play on Sunday, but not the entire playbook obviously," Ward said. "I'm ready to play if they need me."

PREPARATIONS: The Ravens have already been through this West Coast drill once.Their routine will remain the same this weekend in terms of maintaining East Coast wakeup calls and curfews, which were followed during the trip to San Diego with the exception of franchise player Chris McAlister.Billick said he will have his players take precautions regarding hydration because of the extreme desert heat, prohibiting beverages with caffeine on the team charter and at the team hotel."You can only do so much," Billick said. "It's going to be hot and we are going to have to rotate guys through."

A REALLY BIG FAN: Arizona Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis coached Ravens linebackers coach Mike Singletary during the Chicago Bears' glory years.When asked about rookie outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, a player Arizona considered drafting, McGinnis turned his answer into a testimonial for Singletary."He is getting some excellent coaching from one of my favorite people in the world, Mike Singletary," McGinnis said. "I can't call Mike this week because he's the enemy."

BOLD BOLDIN: Cardinals rookie wide receiver Anquan Boldin has already caught 33 passes for 497 yards. The capabilities of the NFL offensive rookie of the month are no secret to Ravens cornerback Corey Fuller. Fuller is a fellow Florida State football alum who has trained with Boldin in Tallahassee, Fla., at workouts that include another fellow Seminole: linebacker Peter Boulware."The kid is a competitor," Fuller said. "He knows what it takes to win from his lineage at Florida State."

LOW ATTENDANCE: Because roughly 49,508 tickets remain available, this game is nearly certain to be blacked out in the Phoenix television market. However, fans in the Baltimore market will be able to watch on CBS with the network's auxiliary broadcast crews, Craig Bolerjack and Beasley Reece. It will just be a fairly empty stadium."We are going to have to generate our own energy to a degree," Billick said.It's not much of an atmosphere, though, despite Heap noting excellent vistas with the mountains nearby Sun Devil Stadium."It's up to us to get a home-field advantage," McGinnis said. "The only way to do that is to win football games. Our fans are tremendous. It's up to us to bring more of them into the stadium."

QUOTABLE: McGinnis on Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis: "Ray Lewis is a stud with a capital S. Ray does a lot of what Mike used to do in Chicago. He controls the huddle. He controls the tempo of the game. The guy is a bona fide impact player in this league."

Aaron Wilson writes for The Carroll County Times

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