Prior to last season, the Patriots signed a veteran cornerback they had faced numerous times in the playoffs. Chad Scott, who spent the first eight seasons of his career in Pittsburgh, was brought in to provide leadership and versatility in the secondary. Coach Belichick praised his playmaking ability and flexibility during training camp and the former first-round pick seemed to establish a niche in the defensive rotation. However, an injury early in the 2005 campaign limited Scott and he was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 12.
After a strong offseason, the six-foot-one-inch, 205-pounder has made an immediate impact this year, starting the last five games at cornerback. He sat down with us to talk about getting back on the field, his offseason workout routine and what he likes to do off the field.
You were sidelined with an injury early last season, so the past four or five games have been your first real action since signing with the Patriots. How does it feel now to get back out on the field and contribute?
I didn't play a lot last year, but the games that I did play in I played a lot. It feels good just to be out there playing. I enjoy playing and it feels good to be on the field again.
What is the hardest part of coming back from an injury?
The hardest part is just being out of the lineup, and not being able to play. That's the most frustrating part. Rehabbing is not the hard part. When the games are being played and you're not able to take part, that's the difficult part. You get frustrated because you want to play.
You are in your 10th NFL season, and are one of the veterans of the defensive backfield. Do you feel a responsibility to be a leader?
I'm pretty much just leading by example. Rodney [Harrison] is the vocal leader of the secondary. I'm just going out and doing my job every single day. That's how I'm leading.
What is the secret to staying productive in this league?
Just being consistent with taking care of your body. That's the key. Being able to perform, and run and move all come down to the shape of your body. Your skills, your speed, and your agility all depend on it.
What do you use as an offseason workout program? Do you do anything unusual?
Not really. I've done a bunch of different things - boxing, kung-fu calisthenics, running, swimming in the pool. They're pretty much things that everybody does.
I don't know. The kung-fu calisthenics seem pretty unusual. Did you ever really get into that or the boxing?
No. I just did them in the offseason. The kung-fu stuff was just more for flexibility and body control. The boxing was for cardio.
You have 21 career regular-season interceptions and four touchdowns, and every time you pull in a pick you're a danger to bring it to the house. Is that a matter of sheer athletic ability or is there a little bit of luck to it as well?
The old saying is that you've got to be good to be lucky. It's a little bit of skill and some luck. But I'd say it's probably more my speed than anything. If I have a head start on somebody running, there aren't too many people in this league that are going to catch up with me.
In high school, your team only won four games in four years. What would you tell kids that are going through a similar experience on a struggling team?
You have to have love for the game. If you love the game then it doesn't matter necessarily whether your team is winning or losing. If you truly enjoy playing football, you can make it. But you really have to have love for the game and dedicate yourself to making yourself better. Football is the biggest team sport. There are 22 guys on the field at all times. So just continue to focus on yourself and try to make yourself better because eventually that will help the team as well.
For 19 years you were the only Maryland Terrapin drafted in the first round. Did that give you good bragging rights back at the alma mater?
I don't know [laughs]. Randy White, who played for the Cowboys, was the last first rounder drafted before me and there have been a lot of very good players to come through there. I just happen to be the only one taken in the first round for a long time, but it's no big deal to me.
Are you close to Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Madieu Williams, who followed in your footsteps in transferring from Towson State to Maryland?
We talk to each other from time to time. I've given him advice and I've given him my opinion on questions that he's had for me. He's a good guy. A lot of people were saying that Maryland was treating Towson like a junior college [laughs]. It's just kind of ironic that it worked out that way. It's just one of those things.
Everyone talks about the rivalry between the Colts and Patriots, but for just as long it's been the Steelers and Patriots that are going at it every year. What was it like coming to New England after playing against the Patriots for eight years in the heated rivalry with the Steelers?
It was a little bit funny just being in a new uniform anyway, and not just the Steelers-Patriots game. When you're somewhere for a long time and then go to a new team, there's an adjustment period of getting used to the coach and how things are done. As far as getting on the field and playing, football is football.
When you're not on the football field, how are you spending your time?
I like spending as much time as I can with my three kids. They don't live here with me, but I talk to them every single day. Other than that I like to just relax during the season. I don't really do too much off the field. I just take it easy. I'm a homebody.
You can't play football forever. When you retire what do you want to do with your life?
I'm already involved in real estate development. That's what I do now. The business is in Florida. I own it and my brother runs it. I'm in the process of building some townhouses right now. I want to continue to develop real estate and allow the business to grow.
I know Rosevelt Colvin owns a business too. Is it common for guys in the NFL to be running a business while they're still playing?
Not a lot of guys. The thing about it is that you need to have somebody who you can trust. I used to own a daycare too, but it didn't work out. I was so busy with football that I couldn't be hands-on, and sometimes people can take advantage of you.
What was it about real estate that interested you?
Just listening to people talk and looking at how the value of real estate has gone up over the years. Some of the best investments that I have made have been in property. So, I decided that I didn't want to just invest in property, but develop it as well.