Retired NFL player Todd Heap and his family are grieving this weekend after a tragic accident that resulted in the death of his 3-year-old daughter.
Heap was moving the truck at his home in Mesa, a Phoenix suburb, on Friday when he struck the girl, police said. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.
The Baltimore Ravens, Heap’s longtime former team, called the accident “knee-buckling news and an overwhelming tragedy.”
Jay Feely, who played with Heap on the Arizona Cardinals, wrote on Twitter : “My heart is broken for Todd Heap and his family. One of the kindest persons I’ve ever met and a man who lives for his family.”
Heap spent 10 seasons with the Ravens, who selected him in the first round out of Arizona State in 2001. He spent two seasons with the Cardinals before retiring with 42 career touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl after the 2002 and ’03 seasons and was a second-team All-Pro in 2003.
Heap also is a member of the Raven’s Ring of Honor.
“We cannot imagine the heartbreak and sorrow Todd and Ashley’s family feels right now,” the Ravens said in a statement. “We believe their deep faith and tremendous support from friends and family will help them through this unimaginable time.”
Heap is from a Mormon family that stretches its lineage to the early days of the faith. Since 2007, he and his wife have operated a foundation to help sick and disadvantaged children.
He talked about family being the most important thing in his life in a 2015 interview with Kevin Byrne , the Ravens’ senior vice president for public and community relations.
“I just got done jumping on the trampoline with my 2-year-old daughter,” Heap told Byrne, “and it’s hard to get a bigger smile than that. I took all three of my boys golfing this morning. That was a lot of fun. (My wife) Ashley makes me smile every day. Family and all of the events we do, that regularly makes me smile.”
In a statement, the Cardinals called the death “a grief that is beyond words and one which no family should experience. Hopefully the prayers, love and support of their incredible group of friends and family provide him the comfort that along with their strong faith will lead them through this unspeakably difficult time.”
Statement from the Baltimore Ravens organization: pic.twitter.com/P6arCBU7mP
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) April 15, 2017