What should we make of Bart Scott this season?
We've heard the New York Jets linebacker is primed for a bounce-back season, how shedding 15 pounds has allowed him to regain the burst that will keep him on the field on third down in 2012.
But we hear this stuff all the time, right? "(Insert aging veteran here) Revitalized After Productive Offseason" is one of the most sturdy storylines in sportswriting. Then reality sets in.
Scott, 32, wants to be an exception to the rule.
"You guys tried to throw dirt on me," Scott told the New York Daily News. "My prognosis: I'm going to ball out."
The Jets fined Scott $10,000 after he flipped off an overzealous photographer in January. The incident was portrayed by many as another example of the rudderless nature of the Jets' locker room last season.
"Really? I'm the bad dude?" Scott asked. "I'm the one that convinced (LaDainian Tomlinson) to take a pay cut, so we could try to get Nnamdi (Asomugha). I'm the one who took the hit first. I told L.T. and Calvin (Pace) ... but I'm painted as an ass----. I ain't never been an ass----. You can't paint me as the bad guy."
The Jets aren't asking Scott to hide his emotions. They just need him to be closer to the player he used to be.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.