Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ravens to sell "EZ Pass?" Todd Heap grounded?

During the fall of 2007, I had to chuckle a bit in a sad sort of way every time I exited the north tube of the McHenry Tunnel. Just beyond the toll both on the east side of I-95 stood Steve McNair.

No he wasn’t auditioning for a job with the Maryland Transit Authority. His likeness was plastered on an AirTran billboard. The match between Air McNair and AirTran seemed logical. Unfortunately all flights were grounded in ’07.

This year AirTran has turned their attention towards Todd Heap. Since the airline announced that Heap agreed to become the newest team member on the low-cost carrier's roster and will be featured in radio spots and state-of-the art high-impact billboards throughout the area, Heap has been sidelined with a calf injury.

Sense a pattern developing here?

Might AirTran be the next company serving up bad mojo to athletes in the tradition of Sports Illustrated and Madden?

Staying with the air travel theme for a moment, without a doubt the worst part of flying the friendly skies are the hassles awaiting you before takeoff. Airport security checkpoints are a necessary inconvenience to all travelers. But never fear, a company called FLO Corp has a solution.

FLO operates expedited airport security lanes at Washington's Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport. There are plans to do the same at BWI. Think EZ Pass when you think of FLO and think $100. That’s the annual cost to help make airport travel more tolerable and lower your Rolaids expenditures.

Now think stadium security and the queuing bottlenecks when entering M&T Bank Stadium 15 minutes before kickoff…you know where this is going right?

In 2009 thanks to FLO you can bypass those God awful bottlenecks for just $10 per game.

How long before they come up with the Wiz-By Pass for the men’s room?

Come to think of it, THAT might be worth $10/game!

Cut down day is approaching (August 26) and the Ravens along with the rest of the teams in the league will need to get their rosters down to 75 players. That won’t be difficult but with the plethora of injuries it could affect practices if some of the nicked up players don’t return to practice.

The more difficult and clearly more dramatic cut down day will be August 30 after the final preseason games. Then teams have to get down to their in season 53 man roster. The Ravens are hoping that a tight end that can stay healthy, block and catch and occasional pass will slip through the cracks and into Ozzie Newsome’s lap.

Players will leave and this season could bring some surprise departing flights. And that thought inspired me to take pause and check in with some recently departed former Ravens to see how they are faring with their new teams:

Devard Darling, WR Kansas City Chiefs: “It was hard for me to break that lineup with the Ravens,” Darling said. “I learned a whole lot. It’s just time to try something else. I was waiting for my opportunity but it didn’t come with Baltimore. It’s coming with the Chiefs instead.”

Darling is starting along with Dwayne Bowe.

Musa Smith, RB New York Jets: The Ravens’ former third down back had 20 yards on five carries in New York's preseason opener. He also had two catches for 12 yards. He’s now joined by recently released FB Justin Green.

Evan Oglesby, CB, Dallas Cowboys: He was known as “EO” to his teammates here in Baltimore. In Dallas according to reports Oglesby has been a very pleasant surprise and has been consistently mentioned as one of the best performers for the Cowboys at their training facility in Oxnard, CA. He leads the team in camp interceptions.

B.J. Sams, KR, Kansas City Chiefs: Word is that Sams is moving well as he returns from a knee injury but according to Chiefs’ special teams coach Mike Priefer, “The speed in the game will be telling. If he’s anything like he used to be, he’s going to be very tough to beat out.”

And finally speaking of former Ravens, here’s what Will Demps had to say recently about his days in Baltimore…“I was blessed to see how it really was supposed to be done. It’s like going to the right college and getting an education and understanding what it’s going to take in the real world.”

Apparently Demps had amnesia in New York. However his new mates in Houston seem to like what they see so far.

Wonder if Cam Cameron will send Todd Heap his way on September 14?

Perhaps but just keep Heap away from those AirTran flights…

Photo by Sabina Moran