OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -No one would have blamed Bart Scott if he stayed home this week instead of attending the Baltimore Ravens' voluntary three-day camp.
After all, Scott established himself last season as one of the finest linebackers in the NFL. He became a starter for the first time, recorded a career-high 119 tackles and four sacks, and made the Pro Bowl.
The guy deserves a vacation. But Scott was playing football Tuesday, working up a sweat with a squad of mostly free agents and rookies.
``I don't have a life. It's out of pure boredom,'' he said with a grin. ``It's either this or stay at home and play PlayStation all day.''
Ray Lewis, Chris McAlister, Ed Reed and a few of the Ravens' other stars might have been working out on their own. Maybe they were playing video games. They didn't have to be in camp, and exercised that option.
But that's not how Scott operates.
``This is my time of year. This is when you try out your new stuff, try and get your techniques down,'' he said. ``You learn your limitations. You find out what you can get away with, what you can't get away with. You try to get your skills up and get better than last year.''
With Adalius Thomas gone and Lewis on the back end of a sensational career, Scott has become a key player on Baltimore's outstanding defensive unit. He's been asked to step up his play and to assume a prominent role in the locker room.
``He readily accepts that. He's a natural leader in that regard,'' Ravens coach Brian Billick said. ``If Ray is out or not here, Bart's got to step up and take over that mantle a little bit. With each year he gets more and more confident, more and more capable of assuming that role.''
Scott came to the Ravens six years ago as a free agent out of Southern Illinois. He went on to become a star, but will always embrace his roots.
``That's part of my DNA. No matter what accolades I receive, I'll always see myself as an undrafted free agent,'' he said. ``I think that's what's enabled me to get over the top and play with intensity. I've been doubted, not really paid attention to, the guy in the back of the bus.''
Scott and the Ravens had an opportunity last season to reach the ultimate stage in the NFL, the Super Bowl, but got knocked out of the playoffs with a 15-6 loss to Indianapolis at home.
``When we lost, I came back and lifted weights for two weeks because I didn't know what to do. I was so shocked. I still had a lot left in me,'' Scott recalled. ``I don't want to feel that feeling again. I've learned what it feels like to lose. Now, I want to see what it feels like to win and take it all the way to the top.''
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