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Bengals QB Matt Scott's puking not new

8/9/2014

CINCINNATI -- Very rarely does the third-string quarterback create more buzz in a game than the starting quarterback -- even in the preseason.

But that's exactly what happened all day Friday as websites from the most obscure to the most read turned Cincinnati Bengals backup Matt Scott into an Internet star.

He wished they focused on his 66 yards passing and 68 yards rushing, but he knew from the moment cameras caught him vomiting three times while walking on the field late in Thursday night's preseason opener at Kansas City that he was going to be remembered this weekend for a far different reason.

"The way social media is nowadays, it's kind of expected, I guess," Scott said Saturday.

Technically, this isn't the first time he's gotten attention for having what his teammates instantly began calling a "Willie Beamen moment." Beamen was the fictitious star quarterback in the football movie "Any Given Sunday" who threw up inside a huddle because of first-game nerves.

Scott has thrown up on the field before, but for what seem to be much more serious reasons. The Bengals certainly hope Scott's pattern of potential concussion-related college instances of vomiting have nothing to do with this latest episode.

This incident came during a hopeful comeback drive against the Chiefs that ultimately resulted in a touchdown and two-point conversion that Scott ran in himself. The drive cut a double-digit lead to two, and had the Bengals feeling inspired late.

"We wanted to come back in that game. That's the objective," Scott said. "Especially going in with the threes at the end of the game with the team down. That's what you want to show the coaches, that you're willing to get in there and claw your way back up."

Coach Marvin Lewis said Saturday that the sequence was one all his players ought to pay attention to.

"He taught the whole football team a very valuable lesson of a guy busting his tail to make a football team," Lewis said. "When you get an opportunity to go out there, you've got to play your tail off, play your very best football every chance you get, because that earns the next opportunity. He proved that."

Exactly how did he?

One play after the Bengals were forced into taking a timeout to see about Scott's condition, he settled under center and fired a strike to the since-waived Conner Vernon on a 12-yard touchdown pass that preceded the two-point conversion. The vomiting seemed to barely faze Scott.

"The thing I like about him was he was calm; he was cool," offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. "Even in the midst of all the throwing up and all that, he never wavered. He just looked at me like, 'OK, coach, what's the next play?' And I gave it to him and he executed it."

Scott attributed his sick stomach to the combination of a sinus infection he had throughout the week, his lifelong asthma, humid conditions that night and being worn out after playing parts of the last two quarters at a high tempo. The Bengals were in a no-huddle pace as they were playing catch-up in those final minutes. Twice on the drive Scott scrambled, including once on a 19-yard run that picked up a first down.

Those are all plausible reasons for the vomiting.

In his senior season for the Arizona Wildcats, he threw up in three different games. Some thought those instances stemmed from concussions that came after hits he took while showcasing his wild, kind of reckless style of running. He exposed himself to hard tackles often and was known to take blows to the upper body even when he did slide.

Scott was only formally diagnosed with one concussion after those three games, in November 2012 against UCLA. The week before, he didn't receive a concussion diagnosis after he threw up on the sidelines in a game against conference-rival Southern Cal. That incident came during a timeout that followed an apparent double helmet-to-helmet hit at the end of a scramble. Three plays out of the timeout, he threw a touchdown pass. That score helped Arizona hold on for a big upset of the nationally-ranked Trojans.

Arizona's training staff was later criticized for not taking Scott out of the game. Some thought he was exhibiting concussion-like symptoms.

Scott still believes those criticisms were off base. Of exhibiting purported concussion-like symptoms, he said Saturday, "I didn't think [that] was the case."

Thursday's incident might not have been the product of a blow to the head, but it still could bear monitoring.

Take the concussion history out of the equation and the Bengals think the "Willie Beamen moment" taught them a valuable lesson about Scott: He's a relentless competitor, even if he ranks low on the depth chart.

"The guy has true guts," offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said. "It got a little rough, but he's a tough guy. I appreciate what he did. He played extremely well. Guy had a heck of a game."

Defensive end Wallace Gilberry took the praise a step further.

"He left it all out there -- literally," Gilberry said.