Who’s Next in The Ravens Ring of Honor?

Heap Ticket

During one of our Ravens Rap shows down at The Blue Ox in Ocean City that featured team owner Steve Bisciotti, the topic of Todd Heap surfaced.

Heap has always been a popular Raven and for good reason. He was a very good tight end who could have been better and perhaps played longer if not for years of ineptness at quarterback during the prime of his career.

The 2001 first round draft pick’s popularity is no less in our State’s city by the sea.

When Heap last visited M&T Bank Stadium as a member of the Arizona Cardinals he was greeted on the field by Bisciotti. With one are draped across Heap’s back and another pointed towards the façade of the stadium’s bowl, Bisciotti asked, “Where would you like your Ring of Honor plaque to hang?”

On September 28 when the Ravens host the Carolina Panthers we’ll find out what Heap’s answer was when the Ravens honor the two-time Pro Bowler at halftime of the game Steve Smith circled on his calendar when he joined the Ravens.

Each new addition to the Ring of Honor triggers debate about the worthiness of those already in the Ring and the merits of future considerations. Relatively speaking Heap deserves to be there (although admittedly if I was running the Ring he wouldn’t make it and others would come down).

Heap was good, not great.

Great is what should hang from that Ring.

In 10 seasons Heap had 467 catches for 5,592 yards and 41 scores. Comparatively speaking the Steelers’ Heath Miller in 9 seasons has accumulated 466 catches for 5,273 yards and 40 TD’s.

Is Miller great?

I was reminded of Heap’s induction when my season tickets arrived and for some inexplicable reason, perhaps it is my series on the Ravens All-Time Team that triggered this, my thoughts drifted towards Kelly Gregg.

Gregg, as Jean-Francois Page wrote on our Facebook page, was “tough as a $2 steak.”

He was the lunch pale guy; the guy who did all the dirty work to enable his teammates to clean up and get the credit, feel the glory.

“Buddy Lee” was the consummate overachiever – quintessential Baltimore, recognized repeatedly by his teammates. When I hosted “Hot Sauce” featuring Bart Scott back in 2007, Gregg joined us one week.

Kelly Gregg SackUsually I arrived about 30 minutes before the show to prep, do a sound check, etc. Almost always Bart would arrive late and as the season slipped away, his arrival went deeper and deeper into that first hour. Bart’s guests arrived even later.

When Gregg was on, he actually arrived before I did – sitting at the Della Rose’s of Canton bar with a burger and a beer just blending in. I walked up to Kelly and introduced myself and thanked him for his time.

“You bet!” was his reply, a common one for the native Oklahoman.

Throughout that season Bart told me often on air and off that the Ravens’ defensive success started and ended with Gregg, the twice-discarded 1999 6th round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. He was the guy who made it all work – the piston in that defensive engine.

But few outside of Baltimore seemed to notice.

Instead they noticed nose tackles like Casey Hampton who was a first round pick by the Steelers in 2001. Hampton is a 5-time Pro Bowler who during his 12 seasons in Pittsburgh has racked up 208 solo tackles, 165 assisted tackles, 9 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 4 passes defensed.

Comparatively speaking Kelly Gregg during his 9 seasons in Baltimore had 357 solo tackles, 152 assisted, 19 ½ sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 9 passes defensed.

Shockingly Gregg never made the trip to Honolulu.

Accolades outside of Baltimore were few and far between.

It’s time for Baltimore and the Ravens to recognize Kelly one more time. He was every bit as important (arguably more) to the Ravens defense from 2001-2010 as Todd Heap was to the offense during that same period.

If Heap belongs in the Ravens Ring of Honor does Gregg?

“You bet!”

Does Kelly Gregg belong in the Ravens Ring of Honor?
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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

16 Raves on “Who’s Next in The Ravens Ring of Honor?

  1. Eric on said:

    I don’t think Heap belongs; Gregg, maybe. I do think that Brian Billick deserves to be inducted. I recognize that the 2000 Ravens were carried by its great defense, but Billick guided that team to the Championship. He had the courage to change QB mid-year, took the team through the “TD – less” streak and was able to beat Tennessee and Oakland on the road to get to SBXXXV. That was greatness! He did fall short in 2006. If we had one it that year, Billick would be in now. Regardless, I think he deserves the honor.

  2. Fran the Fan on said:

    I think we could put this baby to bed by changing the name of the ROH to ROFF, or Ring of Fan Favorites, because that’s what it is. I can think of only 4 former Ravens that truly belong in a Ring of Honor – Jonathan, Ed, Ray, and Matt.

    • O'Shea on said:

      If the Ravens ring of honor were just for our Hall of Fame players then the ring would be redundant. The ring exists to recognize those who had a big impact in Baltimore no matter if they’re Canton bound or not. That’s why players like Heap – who I feel is still underrated sure having to deal with a carousel of bad qbs – deserve to be in it.

  3. Joe B.. on said:

    Kelly deserves to be there..he actually played the game very similar to Randy White (The Manster ) of the cowboys..never gave up on the play and would chase the ball carrier 15-20 yds down the field and be in on the tackle..definitely under rated but an awesome player!!!

  4. CrabbyPatty on said:

    I think not only great players like Jamal Lewis, Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden belong, but also fan favorite players should be included as well. Heap may not have been the Jimmy Graham of his time, but the fans love(d) him. Isn’t that enough? Maybe, maybe not. But for the record, I agree, Kelly Gregg definitely belongs in the Ring!

  5. BmoreB on said:

    The stats comparison between Gregg and Hampton is amazing to me. I knew Gregg was being slighted but man he was down right disrespected by the league.

  6. gregg on said:

    I agree with the fan who suggested oj brigance. He is one of my favorites. Also Gregg, Reed and let’s not forget Todd Heap who donated so much money to Franklin Square hospital. I thinkl that the Ravens should also honor their fans someway. I think of people like Captain dee-fense; the chain gang and all the Ravens Roost’s who have helped make this franchise so beloved in this town.

  7. Cheri on said:

    Tony I will like to respectfully disagree with you on the Heap/Miller comparisons. For me I feel like Miller had the good fortune to play with one of the best QB’s in the league in Ben R. Heap had to play with some bad QB’s with different QB’s every year it seemed that has to make a big difference for a past catcher whether it’s a WR or TE to adjust how a QB has it’s timing with said player. As you are well aware not only was Ben R. a much netter QB then what we had in Baltimore Heap also had to get use to playing with all these different and not very good QB’s.Besides, who’s to say Miller won’t end up in the Steelers ring of Honor or their hall of fame what ever they call theirs.
    I do think one of the most underrated players ever for the Ravens do belong Ray Lewis would agree with that.Though I think next up will be Reed as it looks like whether likes it or not his career is over.

  8. Cheri on said:

    Sorry meant to say i do think GREGG belongs too at the end.Got to thinking after I sent the last comment
    I wonder if we will see the day when the Ravens put in the ring of honor a non player,Modell, Biscotti, Billick, Harbaugh, Ozzie, and OJ Brigance. It’s already too late for Art to have this moment to see hopefully if they would put OJ in there that they would do it soon.I pray OJ continues to battle this ALS and lives for many more years but obviously at year 7 that he has been fighting this we can’t assume he will be around in a several years.I pray that he will. A true man of inspiration and faith.
    Sorry for double posting.

  9. Sandy on said:

    I do not create a leave a response, but after reading through some of the remarks on this page
    Baltimore Ravens News | Who

  10. Voice of Reason on said:

    The lines became blurred on Day 1 when they inducted Earnest Byner from the Cleveland Browns. Since then, there has been no clear definition of who does and does not belong in the Ring of Honor. Being selected as a Pro Bowl player, in my opinion, is not enough to justify induction. Possibly multiple times to a Pro Bowl, along with a number of team records. Hall of Famers should be automatic.

    The biggest problem with the Ravens Ring of Honor is space. So many players qualify, because the standards are so low, that now, there will come a day, in the not too distant future, where there will be no room left for truly deserving players. Right now, the only people deserving of that honor are Ray, J.O., Ed Reed and possibly Matt Stover (if he makes it to the Hall of Fame). Non-players should have a separate memorial dedicated to them and not be mixed in with the players.

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