Former Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap accidentally killed his 3-year-old daughter Friday afternoon. According to local Arizona news affiliate KTVK Channel 3, Heap was moving his truck in the driveway when he accidentally struck the little girl.
Todd Heap and his wife Ashley reside with their children in Mesa, Arizona. Initial reports from the scene indicate that Heap showed no signs of impairment though the investigation is ongoing. The 3-year-old girl was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Todd Heap is an Arizona native who graduated from Mountain View High School and attended Arizona State University. Heap was drafted in the first round of the 2001 draft by the Baltimore Ravens where he amassed 41 touchdowns over 10 seasons according to ESPN.
During his tenure with the Ravens, Heap was a two-time Pro Bowl selected player as well as voted the 2006 NFL Alumni Tight End of the Year. Over the course of his 12 years as a player, Heap pulled in 499 receptions. The Baltimore Ravens inducted Heap into their Ring of Honor in 2014.
At the time, Heap said the honor was “pretty surreal” and that he had never expected to be included with some of Baltimore’s greatest players. Heap gushed about all of the memories he had built with his wife while in Baltimore, saying they had made a lot of friends and really started their life together there.
In 2011, Heap signed on with the Arizona Cardinals for a two-year deal. Todd’s production slowed with the tight end only pulling in one touchdown. Heap suffered a knee injury in 2012 and was eventually released by the Cardinals before announcing his retirement from the NFL.
Todd and his wife have at least four other children. Football fans sent the Heap family condolences for the tragedy on social media.
Praying for Todd Heap and his family. One of the nicest players I’ve been around during my scouting career. Can’t imagine the pain.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 15, 2017
— Thomas Davis (@ThomasDavisSDTM) April 15, 2017
Prayers for Todd Heap and his family tonight. Devastating time for them. Can’t imagine.
— Chance Hester (@CoachHesterSMHS) April 15, 2017
As a father I couldn’t even imagine the pain and guilt Todd Heap is suffering tonight. Keep hom and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
— Jacob Gil (@jacob4kids) April 15, 2017
According to the NFL website, while in Baltimore, Todd Heap’s charitable foundation raised a significant amount of money for sick and disadvantaged children. The Todd Heap Family Pediatric Center at Baltimore’s Franklin Square Hospital opened in 2010.
A member of the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Heap has discussed how he has relied heavily on his faith to get him through life’s rough patches. In an interview with the Deseret News, fellow teammates described Todd Heap as a “family man” and a father who was heavily involved with his children. Heap was known for not drinking or cussing and overall as a likable guy. Todd described how his family and church friends helped him get through tough times in the past.
“To have that structure in life helps to mold you into a better person,” Heap said in 2011. “So, even when you do mess up or get hurt, you can always look to what you learned when you were young to get back on the right path.”
One can only hope that the prayers of fans and support of the Heap family and church can get them through such a devastating loss.
[Featured Image by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]