When Rex Ryan was initially hired as the Jets head coach in 2009, he already had his first free agent targeted, knew exactly who he was going after.
That would be Bart Scott, whom Ryan met at the door step of the linebacker's home at midnight once free agency began a month later. Scott wound up agreeing to a mega six-year, $48 million contract that included $22 million in guarantees and a $3.5 million signing bonus.
"It was kind of quick," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said this afternoon. "We asked Bart to come back, gave him a contract offer. I think the relationship, obviously, was a big one, the role he was going to play in New York -- also the contract was a big part of it too.
"I didn't take it personally at all. I understood what Bart was thinking, have talked to him about it since, understand why Rex would want him. Bart’s a good player and a good guy."
Ray Lewis, who helped Scott make a name for himself when the two played alongside each other at middle linebacker in Baltimore, didn't seem bothered Ryan never sought to bring him to New York.
"Nah, he wanted take Bart with him and start fresh, whatever he wanted to start in New York," Lewis said today. "It’s not like we didn't have real conversations with each other, you know? And this was years ago. He used to always tell me that Baltimore will always be where I end up at, bottom line. And so when that opportunity came for him, I was more happy for him that he got the job than anything else."
Lewis acknowledged it's important for him to stay in Baltimore, anyway.
"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "I don’t know what could ever pull me away from here. That would have to be so incredible to pull me away from here, to actually leave this city and everything that I’ve already built here. But for a coach, it’s kind of different because they can travel new places and start over in new territory.
"For players, I think it's totally different, definitely when you try to leave the legacy that I’m still chasing."