Skip to main content

Bart Scott Conference Call


Transcript of LB Bart Scott's conference call with reporters Monday afternoon:

On the process of the start of free agency…

I want to first clear all these things up. I wasn't causing a bidding war. With these contracts, there is a lot of paperwork and I think the paperwork was 60 pages long. My agent was in St. Louis and is based out of St. Louis. He was finishing up [Rams OL] Jason Brown's deal in the building. We agreed on a deal and we knew that he was going to get to wrapping ours up after the Jason Brown deal. We wanted to spend some time and kill some time. We went out to the mall, looked at some watches, like I often do, and came back and finished the thing up.

I was getting calls from my wife. She was stressed out saying that she's packing, she's unpacking. What's going on? I let her know it's a done deal and everything was fine.

On if those reports were blown out of proportion…

It's an urban legend, you know? There wasn't anything going on so you have to build something of it. I guess it builds for suspense for all the watchers out there.

On if he was surprised when head coach Rex Ryan showed up at his doorstep early Friday morning...

I thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world. I am happy that they did not get off on the curb and get bit by my dog. When I heard my dogs barking, I thought they were out chasing deer. When Coach [Dennis] Thurman called me and they told me "Come on out and get these dogs," it's the funniest thing in the world because I am trying to figure out how he knows I have dogs and how does he know where I live.

But they did their due diligence. It was very refreshing. It really showed me they were serious about getting me and they weren't letting me go anywhere.

On how much he would welcome former Ravens teammates Jim Leonhard and Corey Ivy to the Jets…

In Jacksonville we had Baltimore South when they took "Shack" [James Harris] from us to be GM down in Jacksonville for so long and [Jack] Del Rio.

What this helps with is in the transition process. We have a couple great guys in free agency with myself and to get them up here, I think it helps the team as far as being able to now have different leaders on different levels starting from the corner position to the nickel position and linebacker position.

One of the hardest things when you get in a new system is first to learn the system, but the second part is the language and the communication. I think it helps because they can listen to us make the checks and then they can start to get the gist of it and be able to make the checks themselves. That allows us to practice faster, which allows us to get a faster chemistry, which allows us to take the product on the field and make it the best we can before the start of the season.

On if he has spoken to Leonhard or Ivy…

I talked to Jimmy the day that Rex came to pick me up from the house the next morning. Corey Ivy was actually up there with me. We had time to talk and hang out. Trust me, when Rex left, a lot of guys wanted to come with him. He has that type of personality. We played last year to get Rex a head coaching job.

That is what one of the goals was over on the defensive side: Let's play so good that they have no choice, but to recognize our defense, but then recognize the man that's pulling the trigger. I am actively trying to get those guys. Hopefully, we can get those guys here and we can really improve the depth, communication and transition for this football team to an attacking style 3-4.

On if he was heavily recruited out of high school going into college…

Not at all. Actually, I committed after my junior year to Michigan State early. There was no recruiting for that. I ended up at Southern Illinois, which is a very long story and I am sure we will get to that one day, but I have never seen anything like this in my life.

This is one of the most flattering things of my career in really being recruited and just the fact that people wanted me to play for them. I am still in awe. My background is of being an undrafted rookie free agent. It's a lackluster road to get to the NFL, but it's a road and it gave me an opportunity and I am very appreciative of it.

On if he had any doubt that once he was here that he wouldn't leave without signing with the Jets...

I never had any doubts. One of the biggest problems people have when they have to make that decision in switching teams is the trust factor with the coaches and the people that he has to work with. There was no trust issues or problems with anybody that I had to work with at all because I already knew them and I already knew how much responsibility that they were asking me and how much they were responsible for my career to begin with. For me, it was an easy transition.

On how it feels that Ryan wants to make him the cornerstone of the defense…

It's extremely flattering. I look at it as a blessing. I look at is as a new challenge to be able to take it to the next level and to be able to try to put my imprint in on the defense and play with a bunch of great players. To be able to have an opportunity to kind of move from the passenger seat to the driver's seat is very flattering and it comes with a great sense of responsibility and I am ready to take on the challenge.

On his mindset entering free agency…

My mindset was first of all going to a place where I have an opportunity to win. I have been in the league seven years. I have been to the playoffs three times. This year was my first playoff postseason win. I have never won at any level. The first criteria was being able to win. The second was a great city, a great place and a great organization. Then it was coaches, trust. The money factor was really four or five on the list.

You guys back in Baltimore already know my track record that I left $12.5 million in Cleveland because I believed in the Ravens organization. I have always been loyal to them because they are the only team that showed up to my pro day. When free agency came, I pretty much had narrowed it down to a couple of teams that I told my agent that I would be interested in. I wasn't interested in going to Green Bay. I wasn't interested in going to Detroit, Kansas City, Cincinnati or anything like that because I felt like I wanted to go a place where I could play this type of defense that I wanted to play, which is a violent, physical, intense defense and I wanted to win.

That was the criteria. The money part aspect of it was important, but it wasn't the determining factor because I didn't shop the price around once I got the price, which is what people do when they try to drive the price up. You call Detroit. You call places that you know have to pay to raise the offers that you have and I didn't do that. That has never been my M.O. and I have proven that time and time again.

On if he considered staying with the Ravens...

I made no bones about it that I wanted to stay in Baltimore and that Baltimore would be given an opportunity before free agency even hit to get something wrapped up. I look at New York as Baltimore because I am so familiar with the coaching staff which is very important. I was partial to Baltimore because that's the only place that I had known.

But if I had to leave, New York was high on my list because, first of all, the city. I am always up here. I am in the Mandarin Oriental right now. I always come and spent all of my spare time up here anyway. And my wife is interested in fashion, so it made sense. I just wanted to come to a place and be able to play defense the way I am accustomed to playing. I didn't want to go to a Cover-2 team. A team that was going to tell me 'bend, don't break.' I've always been an aggressive player and I wanted to play an aggressive style of defense for a great fan base.

On what drew him to playing in the New York area…

I always felt that coming into the league as an undrafted free agent, I was the underdog. So what better place for the underdog than with the original underdog — Super Bowl III, making the merger, proving a point that the AFL had quality football teams as well. Just the history that they have here, the tempo and the heartbeat of this city. The passionate fans — you always get to see them on draft day, how intense they are.

I played here a couple of years ago and the chants that they have, and the passion of the fans, and how hard the city works, I looked at it as an opportunity.

On if he thought New York provided him an opportunity to get into the media after football…

I was an econ guy [economics major in college] and when I came into the league that business was furthest from my mind. In having time, and having fun doing things. I've been told it's natural and it's not work to me. It's fun and I love talking, as you guys can see with the length of my answers to your questions.

What better place than right here, the No. 1 market in the world? It gives you so many opportunities. Sometimes you want to spread your wings and fly. The Baltimore market was being crunched because you have a more traditional franchise down the street in the Redskins, Philly an hour away and then you have the Steelers, so it's kind of in a box. It's being crunched. I wanted to come up here and be able to spread my wings and see how far I can take this thing.

On how many coaches were at his doorstep at midnight Friday night…

There were three. And all three I am comfortable with and have known before. It was [secondary coach] Dennis Thurman, [coordinator] Mike Pettine and Rex Ryan. How many guys get recruited that way, the head coach shows up on their driveway?

On his "Madbacker" nickname…

That comes from Terrell Suggs. He gave me the nickname. When I first came in, I was running on special teams the first 3½ years of my career, and if there was a scuffle, if I didn't start it then I was involved in it. Or if someone else was involved in it, then I was trying to finish it. It's that chip that sits on that shoulder when you come in as an undrafted free agent and people feel like you are inferior because you come from a smaller school.

I was always willing to prove that I was a quality football player and just the pure hatred that I have for the opponent. When I play friends, former teammates, it gets even more violent, because I feel you have to be more violent with your friends because you will see them in the off-season and you don't want them to get the last laugh when they ran you over or when they made you miss.

It came from the intensity, me always getting in trouble and the coach calling me off and telling me to stop fighting and Deion [Sanders] telling me to quit cussing — all that type of stuff that goes on on the field. But off the field, totally different.

On seeing "the rest of the iceberg" of his play…

I have only really been starting for three years. Ray Lewis got hurt in '05 and I started from Game 7 on out. My first year under the new contract was three years ago and I went to the Pro Bowl. I was used mainly as a hammer. I was blitzing a lot, a lot of man-to-man coverage, I was used really aggressively.

The second year we lost Adalius Thomas and I was more of a cover guy. I have always been a good run-stopper, but I was a cover guy. This year, I was less aggressive and we kind of put it all together. I was blitzing a little bit, but I was more of a cover guy, taking the team's best pass receiver other than the wide receivers. The good tight ends, the [Brian] Westbrooks of the world. I feel like I am putting it all together. I am rounding it out. I look forward to this year being able to put it all together and take the next step.

On the Jets defense…

I look at tremendous athletes on that side of the ball. I look at playmakers, team speed. I think everything should be built around [Kris] Jenkins. He causes the same matchup problems that [Albert] Haynesworth causes.

This style of defense I'm very comfortable with. I look at it as the defense I have always played in with the same type of parts. With the addition of Lito Sheppard, we have two lockdown corners, which is key in this defense. You have to have a big man in the middle, which we have. A good young guy in the middle next to me [David Harris] that I am going to tell everything that I know and give him everything that I've got. I look forward to seeing him blossom.

Then you have the pass rush on the outside. You've got the young prospect [Vernon Gholston], pretty much coming in like Terrell Suggs came in. Hopefully we can get some of these additions from the Ravens that can help with the communications aspect of it, really small, minute details that come in certain formations. I look forward to that and I am very excited.

On if he felt as if he played behind the scenes in Baltimore and now this is his show…

Not my show. It is going to be our show. I always believed in that. We have tremendous playmakers and there are already leaders here, before I got here. I look forward to meshing in with those guys. I will find my niche and my place. We will mold together.

What made us so good in Baltimore was the chemistry that we had. It is not about stats, it's not about Pro Bowls and it's not about defensive MVPs. All of those things are a byproduct of us playing together. The quickest way to earn your teammates' respect is for them to know that you will sacrifice yourself for them when the time comes and in turn expect them to do the same. When it is time for me to go in there and take on three guys and end up on the ground and get up dizzy and David makes the tackle or someone else, Calvin [Pace] makes the tackle, I am going to get up and celebrate with them. When it is his turn, I want to do it as well.

That is how you build a team. That is how you build a bond. You have to have trust. You can't just put stars together and expect to get immediate results unless you get guys that are willing to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of the team. The byproduct of that is the Pro Bowl, is the defensive MVP.

When I was in Baltimore, I think we had that philosophy planned out. Ray had been that, he was established. He was from the tradition and the era that had came before us. It was his show to run, you have to give that guy that respect. The same respect I will give Kerry Rhodes and the guys that were here before me. I will just try to find my niche and blend in and add my own swag to it.

On if he will be a vocal leader for the Jets…

We won't back down from anybody. We won't take a step back from anybody. You guys can expect to see a very physical, violent [defense]. I do not know if this division has ever seen a violent defense. It is one thing to be physical and make a tackle. It is another thing to be violent. Violence makes guys stay on the sideline when they are getting hit and their ankle is hurting a little bit — they know they are going to get violence, they are going to sit that out. A tackle on a play is different. That is what we are going to try and bring to the table.

I have no problem with talking. To tell you the truth, you have to shut me up. That is why I did not call the plays out there, because I was too busy fighting.

On if he will carry over the passion that Ray Lewis had in Baltimore on to the Jets…

You can definitely get passion. I do not know about the speeches. I don't do anything planned, it has to be impulsive. If I feel like we need to rally and we need to talk, I will do that. I learned a lot from him. I learned about his passion. I learned about how to be a professional. This game requires a lot and you have to know what you need to do and how to be prepared, how to be a student of the game and realize what offenses are trying to do to you and how to recognize and how to counter it.

It's like boxing, if you have a brawler and a boxer. The boxer can make adjustments. But to make the adjustments you have to be a student of the game to figure out what the other team is trying to do to you and what is the best way to combat that.

On where he learned to play violently…

I have been a violent, angry player ever since I have been in little league. My high school coach really helped to develop that and Baltimore taught me how to control that. It is one thing to be violent and passionate without being reckless. We call it "organized chaos," where there is a lot going on. You have to know where to draw the line, but you have to be violent. Football is a very physical game and you have to go in there with bad intentions.

On what makes him confident the Jets will win…

When I was in Baltimore, we had that great season. The season before, we were 5-11. The pieces were in place, it just needed some direction. In Baltimore, that was probably the best offense I have played with.

Here, you start with a tremendous offense, I feel, with a lot of playmakers, a great line, a great running back. You look at the roster on defense and you say, "Hey, they really have some talent." When you bring in a Rex Ryan scheme, that defense automatically improved the day they hired Rex. I am very confident that we can put all of that together.

The really good thing is having the return game and the special teams game. Whenever you have a specialist like [Leon] Washington is, that is the best part of defense. Because of the field position, you can predict what the offense can do by the field position. What they're going to do backed up, what are they going to do coming out, what are they going to do when they get the ball over the 50 and you can really take advantage of that.

I am very confident that we can get it done around here and I think we have all the pieces that we need. It is just how fast can we come together.

On what separates Ryan from the average coach…

It's his candid ability to come down to the level of the people that he is dealing with. He's not going to be on some big pedestal, high above the sky and be some mythical legend that we just see, but never be able to touch and be able to spend time with. He's able to come down and really be able to connect with his players because he cares about them.

First of all, it's not just "I care about my stars." He cares about everybody. To win in this league, you are going to need everybody at some point. I don't care if you are the guy that is helping us prepare on the practice squad or you are the young guy, the third guy on the depth chart and two guys go down and we have to depend on you. So, you have to bring everybody along, not just your stars, you have to bring everybody and he has the ability to come down.

His personality makes you open up to him because it is not an arrogant type of thing, he's joking with you, he's spending time with you and that makes you more comfortable to open up to him. Once you realize that you guys both have the same goal — first they get rid of players when your not winning, second is the coaches — so our futures are linked together and he understands that.

On becoming a free agent when President Barack Obama is raising taxes on people who make over $250,000…

It is what needs to be done for us to get this country turned around. I benefit because I am in a profession that feels the recession last, but at the same time, I have family members going through it. I have uncles who have lost there jobs. I'm from Detroit, so I feel it because of the car industry, that is where most of my family works. So if I have to pay more taxes for us to turn this thing around, then I am all for it. When is enough enough? You are talking to a guy who got a $500 signing bonus coming in as a free agent.

On the current state of his home city of Detroit…

I try to be a light; I try to be a sense of hope. I try to go back and I am very involved in the community out there. Coming up, I will be building a playground out there and last year, me and Under Armour just donated uniforms to my high school. I am just trying to be a beacon of hope and know that this thing can get turned around and while this thing is in the process, know that there is a brighter day coming, that you can make it out and dreams do come true.

I'm a shining example of that. I come from the same beginnings that they come from and I don't try to give that just to Detroit, I try to give that to every kid that I see because ghettos in all environments are the same. I think that Barack Obama serves [as an example] that anything is possible and we can achieve anything that we want to do as long as we are willing to pay the price.

On Detroit's reported 47 percent literacy rate…

I think that's a problem. You have to think, with the literacy rate that directly affects the education so you have to try, first of all, to get that down so the kids can learn. It is all a part of the process, it is all linked together. They look at third grade test scores to figure out how many prisons they are going to build because education is a direct indicator of the status class that you are going to be in. Now, you can come out of that, but those are a great indicator, that is what they use, so if you can get the illiteracy rate down, now you can teach to the kids and get the information to them.

It is something that we have to work on, not just at a city level, but on a state level. I'm sure it is high in Detroit. Is it the highest in the country? I don't know. The school systems are trying to improve, but I think you have to put some of the responsibility on the parents and parents really have to take hold of their kids and try to educate them to give their kids a better life than they had.

When you are in Detroit, a lot of people come straight from the [auto] plants, my mom and guys went straight out of high school and straight to the plants. Back then, they were just passing kids and not educating them, so now you have a lot of parents that can't read with kids that can't read and you have to break the cycle and hopefully we can do that.

On if he thought the Jets would go after Ray Lewis instead of him…

I had no idea what the Jets were going to do. After the season when we had the loss to Pittsburgh, Rex said that he got the job. We congratulated him and then he left and we didn't hear from him. I didn't know the salary cap situation up here, I didn't know their needs up here, and I didn't know what they were going to do. When the season was over, I had no idea.

I didn't even know I was in the running for the Jets until the combine where your guys and your agent kind of get a feel for what they are going to be looking for and that's when I first got the opportunity. I knew that if Ray signed in Baltimore early or if I signed in Baltimore early then that leaves another quality player out there. So I knew if one of us signed with Baltimore before free agency, then it would open the door for more opportunity for the next guy, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would be in this situation.

On what kind of a compliment it is that the Jets chose him over Lewis…

It is unbelievable. I am just excited for the opportunity and for the chance to prove them right. Ray is a great player and he may go down as one of the greatest if not the greatest linebacker to ever play the game and it truly was an honor to play beside him. I learned so much from him and I learned a lot from players on that defense and I hope that I can represent well as a product of the Baltimore defensive system.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content