FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — No matter what Bart Scott said about Darron Lee’s ability to take a hit on the football field, the Jets inside linebacker definitively proved he can take a hit off it.
A little more than a week ago, Scott — the former Jet and Pro Bowl linebacker — called Lee “a little plush” during the Carlin, Maggie & Bart show on WFAN, and used mildly profane phrasing to say Lee had to act like a man. On Sunday, Scott doubled down on his comments on SNY’s Jets Nation, saying that Lee avoided contact during the preseason game against the Redskins (Scott also made this assertion on Carlin, Maggie & Bart).
On Monday, finally made aware of the comments, Lee took it in stride — calling Scott “a great guy”, and even smiling at times.
“I like Bart,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with him. It’s his opinion . . .[Criticism] is part of the territory. That comes with it — high expectations. I know he wants me to reach those. We’ve had a talk, even off the air (when the two appeared on Inside the Jets together last year). He wants me to be the best possible and I feel like I would want that. If I was an older guy and if I saw somebody that [wasn’t playing in a way I liked] I would probably have my own opinion about it also. He has his own opinion about it. I’m pretty sure if there was something else he wants to say, he has my number.”
It isperhaps a sign of maturity for a third-year player that made some pretty big mistakes last year. For one, a video came out last season showing Lee in a heated altercation with his girlfriend and having to be restrained by Leonard Williams at the Governor’s Ball. He was also benched last December for showing up late to practice.
“I always have a chip on my shoulder,” Lee said. “I have my own expectations and it doesn’t matter what anybody says, or any media person says. It’s not going to top my own expectations.”
Scott was certainly less measured.
“This guy — I don’t want to call him soft, but he’s a little plush. He’s kind of like Kirby [the round, pink Mario Brothers character] right now. I don’t understand how they keep allowing him to get away with this,” Scott said. “If I was in that locker room, I gotta tell him, listen bro, you’ve got to [step up] or you need to take your bag and you need to go.”
Scott went on to say that Lee is “taking the easy way out” on plays, likely referencing the Redskins game where he had a less than stellar performance. The black mark from that was a 30-yard run by the Redskins on the second drive of the game.
“It’s just like having two cars or two trains on the track, and you’re running directly at each other and you’re saying, who’s going to flinch first? And even if you’re going to flinch, you can’t make it so obvious. Darron Lee turned it down,” Scott said. “He jumped outside because he didn’t want to stand on the train tracks when the train is coming through . . . It’s one thing to not be able to execute. It’s another thing to question your heart.”
Scott added that fellow Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier is “looking at his fellow brother Buckeye with disappointment, with sadness in his eyes and pain in his heart.”
And though Lee said he had Scott’s number, he said he wouldn’t reach out to him to discuss his comments.
“I’ve got bigger fish to fry,” he said. “I can’t be worried about that. It is what it is.”