Ravens' Heap on the mend, Rolle out

OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap was activated from the physically unable to perform list, but won't play Friday against the New Orleans Saints. The two-time Pro Bowl selection underwent surgery on his ankle and shoulder after the season and is likely to make his preseason debut Sept. 1 against the Washington Redskins.

"For Todd, it's time to go after it and we'll be prudent about it," Ravens coach Brian Billick. "I know he won't play this week."

Added Heap after his first practice since last season: "I was excited just to be out there with the guys, get a few reps in. I've been working my body really hard to get back healthy and it's about time."

Heap is likely to be joined on the sidelines Friday by cornerback Samari Rolle, who suffered a mild knee sprain in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Rolle said he would likely play this week if it was the regular season.

"I feel a lot better," said Rolle, who didn't practice Monday. "I should be all right. I kind of tweaked it. I think we have to be smart about it and try to make it feel better."

The Ravens held out running back Jamal Lewis against the Eagles after he was initially slated to make his preseason debut. Lewis had surgery in February on his right ankle, then served his federal prison sentence and missed the first week of training camp. He's scheduled to play Friday.

"Jamal was working good, but there was some tenderness, some soreness," Billick said. "We decided collectively, 'Why not give it another week?'"

Nickel back Dale Carter (leg) returned to practice and said he'll play Friday. Billick indicated that linebacker Peter Boulware won't play this week. Center Mike Flynn has a minor knee injury, but is expected to play.

TRAGEDY HITS HOME: In the wake of San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Thomas Herrion's sudden, unexplained death, Ravens nose guard and former Utah teammate Maake Kemoeatu reflected on his loss.

"It's a very sad thing, he was a good kid," said Kemoeatu, whose younger brother played with Herrion. "He didn't smoke, doesn't drink. It's tragic to lose him. It was his dream come true to play in the NFL."

Billick was consulted by 49ers coach Mike Nolan about how to handle the situation.

MULITALO GRIEVING: Offensive guard Edwin Mulitalo's father died Monday after suffering a stroke earlier this summer. The popular lineman missed the Eagles game to be with his family.

LATERAL-GATE: Billick continues to rail against a replay review that nullified a touchdown return when officials ruled that safety Ed Reed's flip to cornerback Chris McAlister was a forward lateral.

"As you've probably seen a million times, that was a backward lateral," Billick said. "The problem is the definition the league has brought to a lateral via the ‘Music City Miracle' in trying to be very specific to the launch point and the catch point is adequate anytime someone is stationery or moving backward.

"It wholly defies the law of physics and nature with two bodies going forward. We need to bring some definition to that for our players. I'm not sure the league has a ready answer right now."

MAKING AN IMPRESSION: The defensive back who blocked David Akers' 38-yard field goal try is making a strong bid for a roster spot.

With four former Pro Bowl cornerbacks ahead of him, first-year player Zach Norton is attempting to edge out Calvin Carlyle and Jamaine Winborne to make the team.

"I'm trying to establish myself as someone they can trust," said Norton, who missed all of last season with a dislocated shoulder. "Making big plays is what it takes."

BEARD KARMA?: During an otherwise serious press conference that primarily dealt with the struggles of quarterback Kyle Boller, Billick laughed when asked if he thought shaving his beard had created bad karma for the football team.

"Folks, I'm not sure my facial hair is any indicator of our ability to win or lose," Billick said. "I'm looking at that as well, but I kind of think not."

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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