Darrius Heyward-Bey comes back home Sunday when the Raiders take on the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
Heyward-Bey was a star at wide receiver for Maryland in college and with McDonogh in high school. The Raiders selected him after his junior year at Maryland, and he's been slowly developing into a solid receiver and deep threat.
"I have about 40 people coming," Heyward-Bey said in a conference call with the Baltimore media on Wednesday. "I took care of that stuff early. I don't like to have a lot of distractions. I took care of that stuff early. My mom takes care of all that stuff for me."
The local fans who haven't seen Heyward-Bey since he played for the Terps and McDonogh will see a young wide receiver who looks like he's starting to find his way. He struggled badly the first two seasons, making just nine catches as a rookie in 2009 and then 26 in 2010.
But Heyward-Bey broke out in 2011, making 64 catches for 975 yards and four touchdowns. This season, he's got 19 catches in seven games for two touchdowns, although Heyward-Bey missed parts of a few games after a crushing hit gave him a concussion although it earned him a bunch of time on national TV.
"I really don't remember getting hit," he said of the concussion, which happened in Week 3 against the Steelers. "I had about 300 text messages and voice-mails and stuff like that. My family and friends definitely were worried about me, but the fans in the Bay Area were definitely big. They just wanted to make sure I was OK."
And he was fine, eventually. He came back a few weeks later and seems to be finding his way once more. Heyward-Bey made 10 catches in the last three weeks and really seems to be developing into the kind of big-play receiver the Raiders always have favored.
"I think he's improved every year," first-year Oakland coach Dennis Allen said in the conference call. "I got a chance to watch him from the other side last year, and having to go up and defend against him, and I continue to see improvement out of him as a wide receiver and as a leader on the team. So, that's been good to see."