- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2008

WESTMINSTER, Md. | The Mad Backer has lost his temper again.

Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Bart Scott plays the game in a usually controlled rage, and he has plenty to be angry about after a disappointing season in which his impact was reduced significantly.

Following a fierce hit on running back Ray Rice that knocked off the rookie’s helmet this week, Scott continued the intimidation tactics by picking up the headgear and tossing it down the field.

That action triggered a penalty from the NFL officials visiting McDaniel College, hearkening back to last season when Scott hurled a yellow flag into the stands during the final minutes of a controversial loss to the New England Patriots. Scott and several of his teammates were fined for criticizing and confronting officials.

Now, Scott enters this season in another angry mood.

“I could try to fake like I’m all happy and stuff,” Scott said. “I’m ready to put some pain on people. I just want to line up against somebody and make them feel what we had to feel last year and stomp ‘em out.”

Scott isn’t all anger and trash-talking, although he does carry the toughness of his inner-city Detroit upbringing onto the football field. He’s also has a degree in economics and is a family man who lectures schoolchildren about the dangers of drugs and gangs.

Scott’s father, Bartholomew, Sr., passed on his love for history, including pointers about the military battles of Hannibal. The primary reason Scott is frustrated was not being involved nearly as much in the blitz package last season as he dropped to one sack after leading all NFL inside linebackers with 9 1/2 sacks two years ago when he was named a Pro Bowl alternate.

“Bart is hungry,” defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said. “He wants to be the best. When Bart is doing things right, he’s as good as any linebacker in the league. I’m excited to see him flying around and being the explosive hitter that he is.”

Known for his colorful approach to football and public speaking, Scott has no intentions of changing his outspoken style.

“After sitting with my high school coach, the guy who created this monster, he said I was way too nice, too political,” Scott said. “So I’m just going to go back to just choking the hell out of people and let the coaches calm me down.”

Last season, he took on the old pass-coverage responsibilities of New England Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas, who left Baltimore after the 2006 season.

Playing a ton of zone coverage, Scott’s big plays dwindled. “They didn’t turn me loose,” Scott said. “I like to talk trash, play hard and get after the quarterback.”

Scott is entering the final year of a $13.5 million contract that included a $6.5 million signing bonus. His agent said the Ravens have expressed interest in drawing up a new deal, but nothing is imminent. Plus, fellow linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs’ deals are expiring after this year, too.

“If we would have placed a bet, the odds probably would have been 100-to-1 that I would be the guy who could start and finish a long career with one team,” Scott said. “I love this community. I would love to finish here.”

Scott has never forgotten that he was once an obscure Division I-AA standout at Southern Illinois - home of the Salukis - and that Baltimore signed him as an undrafted free agent for a $500 bonus.

“I’m blessed,” Scott said. “I’m an 18th-round slappy. I am the people’s champion.”

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