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Playing Football Under The Radar: Cleveland Browns TE Steve Heiden

Written by Daniel Wolf

Article originally posted on Dawg Scooper: An Unofficial Cleveland Browns News Source

Before Kellen Winslow there was Steve Heiden. Now that Winslow is gone, there is once again Heiden to take over the tight end position.

Even though new coach Eric Mangini brought in another veteran tight end in former Buffalo Bill Robert Royal, the starting tight end position is Heiden's goal once more.

Heiden, Martin Rucker and Royal will look to battle it out in training camp.

Heiden was drafted in 1999 by the San Diego Chargers in the third round pick, at No. 69. After hardly seeing any playing time for the Chargers, he was then traded to the Browns in 2002.

He then slowly started to work himself into the Browns starting lineup before getting an ankle injury in 2003 that took him out of the last seven games of the season.

The year following, the Browns used their high draft pick on Winslow, and everyone knows that story. Winslow got hurt at the beginning of the 2004 season while trying to recover an onside kick against the Dallas Cowboys.

Then in 2004, with Winslow hurt, Heiden started thirteen games and broke out.

Heiden once again stepped into the starter role in 2005, due to Winslow's bike accident, and gave the Browns great leadership, blocking ability and solid pass catching skills.

The next few years (2006-'08) saw a decrease in production from Heiden statistically because of Winslow's pass catching abilities, but Heiden was still brought in to do the blocking and dirty work, which he never complained about.

Heiden has fully recovered from his 2008 injury and it has been reported that he his ready for training camp.

Now that Winslow is gone, the starting tight end job is Heiden's for the taking. He may not be as dynamic as most other tight ends in the league, because Heiden is more the silent type.

Silent, but deadly.

No matter who becomes the starter Heiden will always be a class act who is the definitive team player, and look for him to once again be the model of consistency for the Browns in 2009.

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