Bart Scott: Pro Bowl important

Updated: May 31, 2012, 10:16 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Don't try to keep Bart Scott from going to Hawaii.

This week, the NFL announced that the Pro Bowl will be played in January, after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had questioned players' overall effort and the viability of football's All-Star Game. The Jets linebacker, speaking after the team's OTA Thursday, said the game was part of the "fabric of football" and deserved to be kept intact.

Scott The Pro Bowl was before his reign, it'll be after his reign. It's not up to him, I believe, to cancel the Pro Bowl. It's tradition.

-- Bart Scott

"The Pro Bowl was before his reign, it'll be after his reign," said Scott, who even invited the commissioner to put on a jersey and play. "It's not up to him, I believe, to cancel the Pro Bowl. It's tradition."

Scott agreed that the format could be tweaked to make it better for the athletes and fans, but he didn't want a game that's essentially played after the regular season to become more competitive and hence riskier to the participants.

"Who wants to get hurt the last game of the season?" Scott said "I'm not going to blow a receiver up coming across the middle. It's the offseason, why? It's an exhibition game. It's not preseason, no jobs are on the line. You're having fun, you don't want to hurt anyone."

Scott, who was named to the Pro Bowl in 2006 as a Raven, doesn't think it has to be hard-played in order to be good for the game. He noted that other leagues have a similar format.

"Have you ever seen an All-Star game that was competitive, or played for real?" Scott said. "I mean, NBA All-Star Game, really? They get serious at the fourth quarter? Nobody's trying to dunk, everybody gets a clear path. I mean, you think all the All-Star games are like that. It's an All-Star game; it's not really about the game, it's about the festivities. ... The game is just the cherry on top."

The week is an opportunity for fans and players to interact, and a fun trip for players who earned the right to be there. In any case, Scott doesn't want to see the game eliminated.

"It's a part of the fabric of football," Scott said. "It's a day of celebration, for everybody to enjoy, for them to get their families out. They earned the right to be an All-Star."

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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