March 13, 2006
On his thoughts after re-signing with the Ravens: "I'm excited. It's kind of a dream come true. It's great coming back. Home is where the heart is, and my heart was definitely here in Baltimore. I tried to make that very known, that I wanted to be here. I was down in Cleveland and as soon as I heard the call, I was like, ?Get me back on the plane and let me get back home. I just hope that I can get out of Cleveland alive."
On what happened when he got the call in Cleveland: "I was actually laying in their players' lounge and things were going on, they kept pushing my flight back to get things done. I got the call from Harold Lewis, my agent, and asked if I could talk. I made up something to get up out of there, so I went outside, and we discussed business. He asked me how I felt about the current deal. I told him from day one that if there was an opportunity for me to come back to Baltimore, I wanted to give Baltimore the first opportunity and the last opportunity to sign me. Loyalty is important to me. That's always been a staple of my personality growing up, even in college, when I turned down Michigan State to stay at Southern Illinois. It's a less glamorous road to travel, but that's just how I was raised. I'm very appreciative for the Ravens, because when I came out of college I was rough and uncut, but they were patient with me and helped develop this talent. I thought it was only fitting that I give them an opportunity to maintain something that they helped develop for four years."
On if he would have signed with Cleveland if the deal was made quicker: "I was going to be patient. I was going to feel things out, and I knew that I would have an opportunity to come back to the Ravens. I didn't want to jump the wire and miss out on something good. I wasn't going to just jump the gun. I was excited. There are a lot of things. We have a great coaching staff here; we have a great owner. But, I love the relationships I have with the players. I have a buddy in here. How many people have players show up to their press conferences? I have Chris McAlister in the back. He's somebody that I've learned a great deal [from] and have a tremendous respect for. How can you turn down playing on the best defense with the best defensive coaching staff that lets us play reckless with a wild abandon. I like to call Rex [Ryan[ the mad scientist. The guys in Cleveland were trying to get tips, saying 'Why do you guys do this?' or 'What are you out there doing?' It looks like organized chaos, but it's the freedom that Rex gives us and the trust that he has in his players that we reflect to each other. How can I turn my back on that? Playing with an Ed Reed, Chris McAlister and a number of guys - I could name them all - is exciting to be back and be able to come in for the next year and get let loose again. They let me be untamed and be wild and be me, and I don't want to go somewhere and be tamed."
On what being undrafted means about the progress he has made: "It was flattering. Coming out and taking the road-less-traveled, it was flattering that anybody wanted me. The Ravens were the only team that showed up. They were the only team that gave me a chance. It was flattering to, four years later, have the opportunity to be courted. It was flattering, but at the end of the day it was a lot better to be home. Come one, these tremendous facilities, (equipment manager) Ed Carrol, the best training staff out here, you can't turn your back on that. Those things will extend your career, and that's what helps you play at the top of your game. We have an owner that is committed to winning. We have the coaching staff. As you can see with the rest of the signings that we have, the Ravens are going to have to be heard from. I don't want to be premature with that, so we'll keep it a secret."
On if his house is still on the market (asked by Chris McAlister): "It never was on the market. I was over here a couple of days ago, and George [Kokinis] pulled a pen out for me and said to come on up [to his office]. I looked at him and told him that I was here to checking to make sure they hadn't pulled my nametag down. I came to polish it up and make sure it was still there."
On if he will be a role model for the rookies in training camp: "I just look forward to continue to lead by example. Now I know that I can come in and have a chance to play and get out there, and I don't have to worry about all of those things that hinder young players, the pressure of not knowing if you're going to make the team and things like that. Of course, I feel I have to go out and prove it on the field, but I can go out with a clear mind and bust my butt and lead by example. I'm sure they'll hear the stories and they'll see. I'm sure a lot of those guys are unfamiliar, because before this year, they probably have never heard of Bart Scott. When I pop up and they figure out I've been in the league, they'll know about my expanded role. I would like to show them and be an example of if you work hard and just keep pushing and keep pushing, eventually good things will happen."
March 13, 2006
Opening statement: "First of all, (general manager) Ozzie (Newsome), (director of pro personnel) George Kokinis and (head coach) Brian (Billick) have been really busy. It's always tough to watch some of your players leave - guys that you have a history with in (Maake Kemoeatu) Kemo and (Anthony) Weaver. I understand that it's part of the game, but I feel very fortunate to get some replacements. Trevor Pryce, a four-time Pro Bowl player, is one of the premier pass-rushers in the game. I don't know how we're going to coach him because he's 6-6, 300 pounds. We haven't had a guy like that around here in a long time. He's obviously a tremendous talent and will really boost that pass rush of ours, and I think (Terrell) Suggs is probably the happiest guy around here right now having Trevor here. Justin Bannan is a young man that is an inside player. He played defensive tackle in Buffalo. It's funny because we were watching film of Sam Adams and watching film on several tackles, and I'm trying to find Sam and this guy replaced Sam for the last five or six games. I was like, 'Who is this kid?' He's a free agent and I feel very fortunate to get him. He plays like a Raven. You'll see that. I think everybody can get excited about him. His name might not be a household name, but he fits what we do, and that's fly around and get after it. He competes 100 percent, and as Bart can tell you, that's important for this Raven defense and for the Ravens' family. That's something we've always done."
On Bart Scott: "The guy next to me, this is huge. It's a great day. I'll be honest with you, when I got a call from George Kokinis, No. 1, that Bart was going to Cleveland (I was upset). After I threw some things at the wall and all that kind of stuff, you always (still knew you) had faith in Bart. I knew that Bart wanted to be here. There was no question about it. In today's game, you always here about players where it's all about the money - and I'm not disrespecting Kemo or Weaver by any stretch of the imagination because every situation's different - but this young man had more money offered to him at a division rival, and it had to be uncomfortable to him because he was actually in their facility when he agreed to be a Baltimore Raven. He's a homegrown talent. Our scouts spotted Bart when he was playing strong safety at Southern Illinois. He's progressed since then. The ceiling on this young man, well, he's got Pro Bowl ability. To us, he's not just a starter on the first and second downs, but he's also going to start in our sub package, which means that Bart will be a three-down player for us. He's a guy that we felt we couldn't afford to lose. He's a Raven, and he wants to always be a Raven. We're proud to have him here."
On if it's easier adjusting to losing players in free agency each year, after being through it for 13 years: "From a coaching standpoint, I think that with the preparation that you do as a coach, you've better do your homework. George Kokinis does a great job in our pro personnel department. He'll give everybody a list of maybe 15 guys to look at. It's not by me saying it. If I say, 'I want player A,' that doesn't mean that we're going to get player A by any stretch of the imagination. It's a group effort. It's a scouting thing with George, it's Ozzie's opinion. It's Brian's [opinion]. Everybody's got an opinion of things. Obviously, the assistant coaches [have an opinion as well]. It just goes together. Ozzie's got to fit it all in. I think that's the big thing. We as coaches say, 'How can we lose Bart Scott? How can we lose Kemo and Weaver? These are our players.' In today's game, it's hard to keep everybody. We're just fortunate to be able to keep Bart and we're fortunate to add the two quality players that we added. I'm excited and I can't wait. What's exciting to me also is to have Ed Reed and Ray Lewis on the field for 16 games next year. We'll see how much people have passed us."
On Scott's special abilities: "Bart has always had tremendous talent. There is no question about that. He can run with any of these linebackers in the league; you can put Bart up with all of them. You're changing his position (from safety to linebacker), so that's tough because you know it's going to take awhile for a guy to grow. But, he did an outstanding job on special teams when that was his role. It became clear to us, especially during training camp, that this guy needs an expanded role. He's knocking the heck out of people every day in practice. He's running around - he's always had great cover ability - he can blitz, so now we've got to expand his role. Everybody talks about when Ray (Lewis) went down, and Bart replaced him. That's not necessarily the case. Bart always had a role with us this year, and he was doing an outstanding job in that role. It was just expanded, obviously, when Ray went down. Again, what I am emphasizing, is that Bart will be a three-down player. Unless (he's matched against) a Tony Gonzales or somebody like that, then we will put a corner in there. But really, that's what Bart's role is going to be, and we expect him to be up there amongst our leaders in tackles. I am excited to see him pared up with Ray next year, so we can see who gets to the ball fast. Our group right here, well, we will put our group up against anybody's in the league."
On what Scott's loyalty means: "I am sure (his decision) never came down to me, but obviously (you must commend) the loyalty. It's got to be kind of a two-way street. The Ravens took a leap of faith with him, and all he did was progress. Jeff FitzGerald has done an outstanding job of coaching this young man. But, the loyalty that he showed to the Raven family - and there is a special unity in that defensive meeting room - the only thing I can comment on are the special relationships those players have with each other. There is accountability in there, and you have to play your tail off. If you're not (going to do that), you're not going to fit in with this defense. It takes a special person to buy into the style of play we have. And, Bart is one of those guys."
Aaron Wilson's profile of the edgy LB known as the "Mad Backer"