During his 11-season NFL career with the Ravens and Jets, Bart Scott was never accused of being shy. From a media standpoint, it was both his blessing and his curse. The former inside linebacker, who retired after being released by the Jets last February, was hired earlier this week as a panelist on CBS'The NFL Today pregame show.
Scott, 33, always seemed like a perfect candidate for a post-playing career in broadcasting. "When I was in Baltimore, they called me a walking sound bite," Scott told me over the phone Tuesday night. "I was always honest and direct."
For proof, look no further than the famous "Can't wait!" interview—complete with that soft "Jet" landing—Scott did with ESPN's Sal Paolantonio a few years back. In a concise one minute, eight seconds, Scott elevated the raw, genuine emotion of an on-field Q&A into performance art long before most football fans had ever heard of Richard Sherman:
But there's no ignoring the delicious irony in Scott now working a prominent gig as an NFL pundit. When he was with the Ravens, Scott once protested a call by firing an official's penalty flag into the stands. With the Jets, Scott gave reporters the middle finger, threatened a writer who had tried to take his picture in violation of the team's media policy, lashed out at fans, and organized a media boycott that lasted as long as it took the Jets' PR staff to open the locker room doors. Can't beat 'em, join 'em.
Scott had done some radio work during his time with the Ravens, and he did a number of TV spots for SNY once he got to New York. He has a degree in economics from Southern Illinois University, and he told me he considered going into finance after football. But, at the same time, Scott said, "People always told me I'd be good at sportscasting."
So Scott and his agent "started putting feelers out" to see if broadcasting might be the way to go. Eventually, Scott hired Mark Lepselter, a media agent whose client list includes former-NFLers-turned-talking-heads Donovan McNabb and Rodney Harrison. Scott was on his way.
He spent the 2013 season in the high minors with a spot way down the channel guide on CBS Sports Network's That Other Pregame Show. After just that one year, the network called him up to The Show.
"It's something that kind of fell into my lap," Scott told me. “Never in a million years did I ever dream that this was how it would happen, or that this is where I would be one year after not playing.
"I'll still criticize the media. I never had a problem with the media. I just didn't appreciate the way I was being covered, or the way the Jets were being covered. This is a different media market, different from any other place. It wasn't like this when I was in Baltimore."
Scott explains this further in a Q&A you can read here