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"He can rush the passer, he can cover slot receivers and tight ends, he can play deep safety all by himself," says Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. "And he's mean as hell."
Scott is also colorfully--and sometimes controversially--cacophonous. On a fourth-and-one against Pittsburgh in '05, he drew an imaginary line on the ground and screamed at Bettis to cross it. In the same game he called Steelers Pro Bowl wideout Hines Ward both "soy sauce" and "rice rocket" in reference to Ward's Korean ancestry. Neither Bettis nor Ward admits to remembering the incidents. Says Ward of Scott, "He's talking all the time, but no one's paying attention. At the same time, he's a great talent and getting better and better."
Former Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter, a legendary trash talker himself, recalls spinning Scott around during a change of possession, mocking him by reading the name on the back of his jersey. "He was like a first-year starter, and I told him, 'I don't argue with nonstarters,' " says Porter, who's now with the Dolphins. Scott responded by making nine tackles, and after every one he shouted to Porter on the sideline, "That's one. That's two. . . ."
It's an approach some teammates don't fully embrace. "He's too emotional most of the time," says Lewis. "I try to get him to control himself."
But others love it. "He's a fire, and I pour gasoline on him out there," says veteran cornerback Chris McAlister. "It's Bart being Bart, and I want him that way."
In truth it is an act, reserved for the field only. When the Super Bowl came to Scott's hometown in 2006, he arranged for students from six inner-city middle schools to gather at Southeastern; Scott spoke to them wearing a suit and tie. "Never mind that football," Davis, his former coach, told him that day. "Now you look like a man."
Last summer Scott sent plane tickets to Kill's office at Southern Illinois and arranged for his former coach to use Scott's South Beach condo. "Bart knew I never take vacations, so he made all the arrangements for me and my wife," says Kill. "Honestly, it's the nicest thing anybody has ever done for me."
Soon another season begins. With do-everything outside linebacker Adalius Thomas gone to the Patriots, Scott will be expected to deliver even more. Veterans such as Lewis and McNair are quickly aging, putting pressure on the Ravens to make another run now. None of it scares Scott. House money. He spreads his arms wide like a preacher before his congregation and speaks through a broad smile, "I've already won."