Going into this offseason, Jets coach Rex Ryan spoke of returning peace and a workmanlike attitude to a locker room that knew only building disarray and division during last season's disappointing 8-8 campaign.
One of the team's more vocal nuisances, linebacker Bart Scott, was a question mark for 2012. The 10-year veteran was Ryan's marquee import from Baltimore in 2009, bringing attitude to spare to the Jets' defense. By the end of 2011, Scott had noticeably lost a step, pulled frequently on passing downs in favor of Josh Mauga.
"Why wouldn't (he be back)?" Ryan said Tuesday at the NFL Annual Meeting, according to the New York Daily News. "I know everything is reported or whatever ... I can say this: I've had great discussions with Bart. He's got his weight down. He felt that he probably got a little too heavy last year."
The newspaper reported that Scott has trimmed 10 to 15 pounds off his frame in effort to regain some of the speed that helped him disrupt offenses in days past.
What's more likely here: The Jets, who only occasionally seem to recall that football involves something called a salary cap, are unwilling to take the $4.2 million hit for 2012 if Scott's sent packing.
But according to Ryan: "I think when we looked at it ... We were going to use him as a blitzer (in 2011) and he kind of got his weight up. He dropped his weight back down a little ... The longer you go in your career, sometimes itâs better to lose a little weight ... Bart is still a ferocious hitter. He brings that kind of intimidating presence to us."