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Friday, February 27, 2009
Money makes Scott more comfortable with Jets


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

At first, it looked like loyalty. In the end, money played a significant role.

After a battle of bids Friday, linebacker Bart Scott followed head coach Rex Ryan from the Baltimore Ravens to the New York Jets on the first day possible.

 
  George Gojkovich/Getty Images
  After some anxious moments this afternoon, Bart Scott settled on the New York Jets.

For Scott's entire NFL career, Ryan has been on his sideline. Ryan left his post as Ravens defensive coordinator to join the Jets in January.

Scott arrived Friday morning at the Jets' headquarters in Florham Park, N.J., with a strong inclination to sign a contract. He agreed to a five-year, $40 million offer with the Jets, but wanted to give the Ravens an opportunity to match.

Scott eventually accepted a six-year, $48 million contract to be a Jet.

He was one of the most prized free agents at any position and gives the Jets' defense a formidable weapon in the middle. He will play inside linebacker alongside David Harris.

Scott finished second to Ray Lewis in team tackles with 104, according to the coaches' film review. Scott recorded only 54 solo tackles, but many project Lewis-like numbers if he were put in Lewis' role. Scott also had 1.5 sacks with no interceptions or forced fumbles.

Scott is deferential to Ryan, who was his defensive coordinator with the Ravens. Undrafted out of Southern Illinois in 2002, Scott developed into a Pro Bowl linebacker under Ryan's guidance.

"I got a special place in my heart for those guys because they are the guys that gave me the chance and taught me how to play defense," Scott told ESPN moments after the free-agency period opened at 12:01 a.m. Friday. "I was the happiest man in the world when [Ryan] got the job because I felt it was long overdue.

"We always have a great time with Rex and the guys that helped kind of mature me from undrafted to what I am now. So they're just as much a part of my success as I am."

Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is another familiar face. Pettine was Baltimore's outside linebackers coach the past four years. Jets secondary coach Dennis Thurman held the same role with the Ravens.