Bills’, East’s Scott Shows Passion On and Off Field
“Published in the August 26th Bucks County Herald”
“It’s really important for students to be well rounded, especially in your adolescent years,” believes Buffalo Bill safety and former C.B. East star Bryan Scott.
Scott was talking about the arts, yet the eight year NFL veteran could also be describing his versatile career.
Herald readers remember Scott as the running back who racked up over 3,000 rushing yards as a Patriot. Scott, the Pennsylvania Big School Football Player of the Year, also earned All-State honors in track.
He parlayed that into a scholarship at Penn State, where he started for three seasons as a safety under Joe Paterno. In 2003, the Atlanta Falcons drafted the Nittany Lion graduate- Scott has a Business Management degree- in the second round.
The 6’1” 219 pounder made most of his 53 NFL starts at strong safety. He has played extensively on special teams. Yet in Buffalo’s November 15th loss at Tennessee last season, there was Scott debuting as an outside linebacker- where he would start for the next five games.
“Our defense has changed from last year to this year,” Scott explained. “Obviously as a linebacker you’re down in the box all of the time. You’re coming out of there, taking on pulling guards and tackling centers.
“As a safety you get a little more freedom to roam around on the back end. You have to cover a receiver every now and again. Those are the different responsibilities. (The Bills) are interested in having me play both but I’ve gone back to my natural safety position.”
It’s important to be well-rounded.
And Scott’s off the field actions back up his words. While Scott does his fair share of community service- he donated 20 season tickets to charitable causes in 2009- the bulk of his efforts revolve around his passion for music.
“I grew up banging on pots and pans and singing in church choir,” Scott recalls. “That led to singing in Chorus and then singing in choir when I was in high school. I played the saxophone and drums in Jazz Band. Music has really kept me balanced. You need to pick up as many things as you can to keep that balance and structure.
“That’s why when I decided to start a foundation- the Pick Your Passion Foundation- I didn’t want to do an everyday thing geared towards football,” Scott continued. “I wanted a way to incorporate the arts and sports. That led to Pick Your Passion, whatever your passion is. Whether it be singing, dancing, painting. You should follow it.”
The foundation made a number of significant grants before taking a temporary hiatus.
He explained, “The overall mission of it is to help students trying to pursue secondary education in the arts and to expose youth to different arts functions. Unfortunately, the Foundation is kind of on hold right now but hopefully we can get it up and running soon and get those programs back in place.”
Between now and late December, Scott’s focus will justifiably be on training camp and the Bills’ season. This year- his fourth with Buffalo- marks Scott’s longest tenure on a team. He spent his first three seasons in Atlanta, followed by a year with New Orleans in 2006 before signing with Buffalo.
That stability makes training camp easier. “The biggest difference is just knowing what to expect. My rookie year, going into Atlanta, I had no idea what was going to go on, what the schedule was going to be or what was going to happen,” Scott admits.
“Now, as I was packing up for training camp and leaving my house, I didn’t even have to make a list. I knew everything that had to packed, I knew the dates that everything had to be shipped and how many days out. When I got to camp I knew exactly what I needed for my dorm room and how to set it up.”
He chuckled, “You have rookies come up and ask you questions on what they should bring. A lot of them make a lot of Wal-Mart and Target trips because they didn’t bring certain things.”
Scott lives in Atlanta during the off-season. “I really don’t get home as much as I’d like to,” said the East graduate. “This off-season, I made it back two or three times; it was really nice to see folks. Hopefully as time progresses and maybe when I hang up the pads I’ll be able to get back home and take part in community things.”
But hanging up the pads will have to wait a few years as Scott builds on an impressive resume that includes over 400 tackles, five interceptions and seven forced fumbles in his career. What is the secret to having that kind of staying power in the NFL?
Scott replied, “It’s really just not forgetting the basics and remembering your foundation. That’s been the biggest thing: always working hard and doing what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it. I’ve been really blessed in that I haven’t had too many serious injuries. I try to do all of the little things to help the younger guys: eating healthy, getting to bed, working out regularly.
“There is a quote that says ‘You don’t have to do extraordinary things. You have to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.’ I’ve just stuck to that.”
Meaning that whatever Scott is hitting- be it a wide receiver or a note on the saxophone – it will be done well. And passionately.
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