Bart Scott can’t wait for the end of the NFL lockout.
The Jets’ linebacker, whose legendary rant after the AFC divisional win in New England will forever be a part of Jets lore, still isn’t pleased three months after the fact that New York’s season ended one game shy of the Super Bowl.
That loss in Pittsburgh, which denied the Jets just their second ever appearance in the big game, is what is fueling Scott this offseason. Scott nods his head when asked if he agrees with head coach Rex Ryan’s recent assessment of the Jets as Super Bowl front-runners.
“We always believe that, we root for that, the money is spent for that. Anything less is a disappointment. Maybe the fans enjoyed the season, we didn’t,” Scott told Metro. “We were disappointed. We approach this offseason angry, we approach this time angry. And the only way to get that bad taste out of our mouth, well, the only way is to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.”
Scott is more sweaty than angry after a two-hour workout with Geir Gudmundsen of TEST Sports Clubs that included a healthy dose of deadlifts and squats. He went toe-to-toe squatting with teammate Vladimir Ducasse, the Jets’ massive right tackle.
“We want to make it over that hump, over being just one game short of the Super Bowl. It’s typical of this offseason for me. I look like [crap] right now so that I don’t look like [crap] when we play,” Scott said. “This an opportunity to separate ourselves. For us to come in, be ready, to hit the season hard when it happens. We’re not advertising this, we know that no one is watching us right now. We just want to build on what we have because for the Jets, we have something special going on and we don’t want to see that slip away, lockout or not.”
He’s a headline making machine and easily the most quotable Jet in the locker room, but this time, Scott isn’t speaking in clichés or cleverly turned hyperbole. In print, it seems like something scribbled on a chalkboard, emblazoned on a banner in a gymnasium or printed on the back of a high school team’s workout T-shirts. But when Jets linebacker Bart Scott said it, well, it was the stuff of goose bumps.
“Right now, this time here, this is when champions are made. This is when you separate those who want it most from those who don’t,” Scott said. “I could be in a lot of glamorous places right now – I could be on South Beach sitting in the sun. But I’m not – I’m here now because I want one thing – I want to win that Super Bowl.”
That place where Scott is right now is working out at TEST Sports Club in Martinsville, N.J., where the Jets’ linebacker works out several times a week with his teammates such as Ducasse and Jamaal Westerman. Scott enjoys these workouts, working on his agility and flexibility, taking yoga classes and rounding into shape. The Jets linebacker is in his second week of intensive training at TEST and he’s rounding into form as if there is going to be a NFL season.
And if the game is played this year, he said he and the Jets will be ready and only focused on themselves.
“We’re worried about ourselves. We’re not worried about Tom Brady and the Patriots,” Scott said. “When you do that, you have to worry about someone coming out from nowhere. I worry about everybody. Every year, there is a new Super Bowl champion.”
Despite the lockout and labor uncertainty, the Jets seem primed to keep several pieces of their core in place. Earlier this year, Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said, “I would do anything to play for someone like Rex Ryan.” And during Super Bowl week, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis told Metro he was lobbying for Ochocinco to join the Jets as a free agent.
Scott sees a benefit to that.
“Of course it’s exciting to hear that, and I think that Chad and other guys recognize that not only are we playing hard and playing well, we have an affection for each other,” Scott said. “I’m really excited that he’s a player who would want to be here, we don’t care about personalities. Personalities like Chad, we can handle. Santonio Holmes is an example of that – people didn’t think we can handle him, but he had only one problem in two years and he’s been the model citizen here. I would welcome Chad here.”
The reason why Holmes has thrived with the Jets, Scott said, is because the Jets have found the right balance between a loose locker room and some strong leadership. When Alan Faneca was released last year, many fans worried that the Jets were losing an important locker room presence in the veteran player. The team compensated for that loss in many ways.
“Leadership isn’t always the guy out there running his mouth in front of everyone, myself included in that comment,” Scott said. “It can come quietly, from a Jason Taylor, from a LaDainian Tomlinson or a Damien Woody. We all take ownership in what we want to do and if you’re not a leader, we’re going to develop you into one.”