FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Bart Scott wanted to do more than just apologize.
"Those guys played a tremendous game and one lapse of focus on my part cost them something that was precious, which was a shutout," Scott told Newsday Wednesday. "And what comes with a shutout is a game ball."
The Jets might have had that shutout had it not been for Scott's 15-yard unnecessary-roughness penalty with 9:11 left in the third quarter of Sunday's 26-3 win. His scuffle with Tampa Bay special-teamer Adam Heyward gave the Buccaneers their initial first down and put them in position for a 43-yard field goal.
That's why Scott volunteered to buy game balls for each member of the defense. "I thought it was only right for me to give them a ball that has the score on it, and to really symbolize their kind of focus that day, so they can put it on the mantel or show their kids later in life," he said.
Scott said he spent about $1,500 for the 22 or 23 balls that have yet to be painted. That isn't the only cash coming out of his pocket. He said the NFL fined him $5,000 for the penalty.
"It was nothing premeditated. I made a mistake," he said. "It's impulsive, but we've all been there as football players. I just wanted to give the guys something to show my appreciation. To say, 'Hey, guys, you put out a great effort. I didn't mean to ruin it for you.' "
Rex Ryan was impressed. "That was a great idea he had," he said. "That was outstanding." Ryan's tone was considerably more jovial Wednesday, compared to the tongue-lashing he gave Scott after the penalty.
Said defensive end Marques Douglas: "The way Rex got on him when he came on the sideline, I just thank God that they didn't have a microphone on him. He was pretty PO'd."
Cornerback Darrelle Revis said: "I just told him that was selfish . . . We watched the film. Dude pushed him first. In the heat of battle, [Scott] was just trying to defend himself . . . you just have to be smart."
With Roderick Boone