Marriage of Bart Scott, Jets on the rocks

Marriage of Bart Scott, Jets on the rocks

Can the rocky marriage between outspoken linebacker Bart Scott and the New York Jets be repaired? That remains to be seen three years after Scott inked a six-year, $48 million contract to leave the Baltimore Ravens. Perhaps a counselor could improve the situation.

Scott is extremely frustrated with his playing time after regularly being removed from the field on third downs and the Jets nosediving to an 8-8 record after head coach Rex Ryan guaranteed the Super Bowl.

Scott's agents met with general manager Mike Tannenbaum, but the meeting that still needs to happen is between the linebacker and the coaching staff. Namely, Scott wants to have a meeting of the minds with Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

Although all options are on the table, a trade is extremely unlikely to happen since Scott is due a fully guaranteed base salary of $4.2 million next season. He's under contract for the next three years.

"Bart is obviously very upset about his playing time," his agent Harold Lewis said in a telephone interview. "It's no secret Bart is frustrated because he wants to win. He gave back over a million dollars and talked to over eight players to do the same. Anything less than winning the Super Bowl is unacceptable. If the relationship can't be fixed, if there's no chance of saving this marriage, then you go to Chapter 2. We have a guaranteed contract. We'll honor our contract. Bart wants to be a Jet. It's not about money, it's about winning.

"The scheme changed where they took Bart out on third downs. That got him all pissed off. They weren't making adjustments at halftime. David Harris would ask Bart, 'Why aren't you out there?' and Bart would say, 'Talk to Rex.' It's not about money. It's about winning. If he wasn't frustrated with losing, then shame on him. Do you want somebody content not being on the field? Bart cares. He wears his heart on his sleeve."

Lewis met with Jets management at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis to discuss the issues that upset Scott.

Lewis emphasized that he wasn't given permission from Tannenbaum to seek a trade, but indicated the Jets may explore that option.

"At no time was permission granted for a trade," Lewis said. "I never asked for that. I told Mike Tannenbaum, 'We should stay out of it. Have the head coach and the coordinator talk to Bart. If they can't fix it, then you go to the business side. It's up to them.' There is no sit-down scheduled yet."

Among the potential teams Scott would likely be interested in playing for: the Ravens and the New York Giants.

"All options are on the table," Tannenbaum said in a radio interview. "Bart's under contract. He's given us three good years since he's been here. We had a really good meeting where we cleared the air on a lot of things. In large part, Bart's frustrations came from not winning and not playing as much as he wanted to, but he's a team-first guy and winning is important to him.

"We're going to keep having discussions with him. We'll see where things go. He's an inspirational leader. He's a tempo-setter. He plays physical. So much of his production doesn't show up on the stat sheet. He's still a good player, and he played a lot of meaningful snaps for us."

Scott restructured his contract prior to last season, reducing his salary by $1 million in 2011 and $1.4 million in 2012. Now, his $4.2 million base salary for next season is fully guaranteed. He's due $6.9 million base salaries in 2013 and 2014.

Now, Scott, 31, has $22.6 million left over the final three years of his deal.

Scott's playing time dipped to 677 snaps last season, the lowest for him since he joined the Jets.

Scott was fined $10,000 by the Jets for giving the middle finger to a photographer in the locker room following a loss to end the season.

"Bart let the guy take his picture, he politely asked him to stop taking his picture once he got his shot and then the guy kept shooting like six inches from his face," Lewis said. "He politely asked him, 'Please, can I have my space?' And the guy keeps coming up to him. He was being obnoxious. It's like 'C'mon, dude." It was like the paparazzi or something. The guy was following him around."

So, what's next?

Scott wants to sit down with Ryan and Pettine and clear the air.

"Bart would like nothing more than to continue playing for the Jets, but these things need to be fixed before we could go through another season," Lewis said. "His hope and intent is to sit down with the powers that be and discuss everything. It's up to the Jets. They can say it's not worth a meeting and don't tell us how to run our team. Bart loves being a Jet, the people in New York have been tremendous to him in accepting him. He's like an icon out there, but things have to be worked out.

"Here's the thing: Bart's not going to change. He's going to be Bart. He's not going to change his aggressive play, his desire for winning. He's not going to keep his mouth shut. He'll speak up for what's right. Bart paid out of his own pocket for players who didn't have money to do offseason training. He comes in on his days off to watch film. He wants to know, 'What can we do better when mistakes are made on the field?' Like I said, he wears his heart on his sleeve."

Lewis said a movie is being made about Scott's life by Warner Brothers.

"He's a special guy, a special story," Lewis said. "He's a fighter. He's Rocky Balboa."

For more coverage of the NFL, go to profootball.scout.com.

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