Hymes on receiving end of joking comparisons to T.O.


Randy Hymes has heard the comparisons and he pays them no mind. The tights, the one-handed catches, the jawing with cornerbacks, and the end zone celebrations - all staples of Hymes' play during the Ravens' offseason practices - have led a few teammates to jokingly evoke a name he wants no ties to.

But the question, considering Hymes' extreme makeover, is fair. Could he be turning into a less controversial version of Terrell Owens?

"I don't want to be like T.O.," Hymes said. "I'm far different from him. He's in a whole other category. I'm just representing myself."

If the true Hymes is surfacing, he might be giving Deion Sanders a run for team showman. Before giving himself a break and wearing team shorts during yesterday's practice, Hymes had sported either black, purple or white tights during earlier sessions, a look similar to what Owens has practiced in.

Hymes has also made a habit of making routine catches with one hand. Coaches and teammates have little concern. They say they like it when Hymes turns into SWAC, his alter-ego nickname for having been a star in the Southwestern Athletic Conference at Grambling State.

"Playing receiver in the NFL is a lot like playing corner; you have to play it with an attitude," receivers coach David Shaw said. "You have to play with supreme confidence.

"That's what got him his nickname, SWAC. He was an undrafted kid who played quarterback in college that plays with a chip on his shoulder because he didn't get a lot of notoriety."

Now Hymes, like a certain other receiver who was overlooked coming from a small school, is looking to make his own fame, in part, through showmanship.

It could be his edge over the other receivers, none of whom seeks the limelight. Hymes, Devard Darling and Patrick Johnson figure to wage an interesting training camp battle for the fourth receiver spot.

Darling and Johnson have the speed and experience, respectively, but Hymes has the attitude. One of the highlights - a mock celebration after a catch in the end zone when nobody was covering him during individual drills.

"SWAC is the epitome of swagger in the receiving corps," receiver Clarence Moore said. "That's what we look to him for. When SWAC has a bad day, we all have a bad day because we wait for SWAC to do something on the practice field. It's all in fun, and he's still leading by example. At the same time, he has a swagger that we all don't have. We may have it, but we don't show it like that."

Neither really did Hymes before these offseason workouts.

He says the change has more to do with his comfort level. Hymes, in his fourth season, started seven games last year, including the Dec. 26 showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers where he led the team with four catches for 55 yards.

"You do that when you get comfortable with the system," Hymes said. "Once you get comfortable with the system, coaches give you a little bit more leeway. They know I'm from the SWAC, and Jerry Rice is from the SWAC."

Hymes pointed out it was Rice, not Owens, who started the tights thing, and that is whom he models himself more after. The demonstrative acts are not Rice-like, but they might be here to stay for a while.

"That's me," Hymes said. "I've always been like that. [Former Grambling coach] Doug Williams used to get on me in college, saying 'Man you dress differently from everybody. Dress like the team.' But I don't know how to do that. I know how to do it, but it's not me. It's just the swagger I have, pulling myself away from everybody else. It's going to make me play better."

NOTES: The Ravens and Washington Redskins will scrimmage Aug. 6 at M&T; Bank Stadium at noon. This will be the first time the teams will scrimmage in Baltimore since 1981, when the Redskins beat the Colts, 13-7. Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for children. The scrimmage replaces the intrasquad scrimmage the team was originally scheduled to have the night before. "We'll, in theory, get about the same number of snaps, which is good," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "And it's always good to play someone else, the tempo of it and not beating on one another is a positive thing. Plus, it's the Redskins." ...

Outside linebacker Peter Boulware, who remains unsigned after getting cut by the Ravens on May 11, still hasn't cleared out his locker. It remains next to Ray Lewis and contains jerseys and photos of his family inside. ...

End Tony Weaver sat out of practice with an undisclosed injury. The injury is not believed to be serious, and Weaver is expected to return next week. Nickel back Deion Sanders (toe) and receiver Mark Clayton (hamstring) did not participate in team drills. ...

Staff from the Ravens, Redskins, Eagles and Steelers will play in the first annual softball challenge at M&T; Bank Stadium tomorrow.

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