With the Buffalo Bills overhauling their defense this offseason, linebacker Bryan Scott was excited and relieved to find out he won’t be among the castoffs.
The 10-year NFL veteran will return to Buffalo after signing a one-year contract Wednesday, a week before Scott was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.
”I’m excited to be staying in Buffalo, because we’re a lot closer to making the playoffs than what people might think,” Scott told The Associated Press by phone from his offseason home in Atlanta. ”I would’ve been really disappointed if that was my last season in Buffalo, leaving a city like that and not finishing what we’re trying to get accomplished.”
He first announced the deal by posting a note on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon. Scott then confirmed to the AP that he had just signed the contract the Bills had sent him and planned to return the document to the team.
Scott has spent the past six seasons in Buffalo, where he has proven to be a versatile utility man. He’s split time at both linebacker and safety and been a regular on special teams.
He finished second on the team with four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and also forced and recovered two fumbles in 16 games last season, including one start. Overall, he has seven interceptions, seven sacks and recovered six fumbles in 87 games in Buffalo.
The opportunity to re-sign with Buffalo was first broached during conversations between team officials and Scott’s agent at the NFL combine in Indianapolis last month.
Scott had grown worried about his status with the Bills, who are once again in transition. Doug Marrone takes over as the new head coach after Chan Gailey was fired following three consecutive losing seasons.
Over the past few weeks, the Bills have cut three defensive veterans: cornerback Terrence McGee, safety George Wilson and linebacker Nick Barnett. Two other regulars, defensive lineman Chris Kelsay and linebacker Shawne Merriman, are also not returning after both announced their retirements.
”There’s always a worry, whenever changes are made. You know that things are going to happen from the top down,” Scott said. ”They did let some quality guys go. So I was just patiently waiting and hoping everything will work out, and it did.”
Scott is familiar with both Marrone and newly hired defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who came to Buffalo after serving the same role with the New York Jets.
Scott and Marrone crossed paths in New Orleans in 2006, in Marrone’s first season as the Saints’ offensive coordinator.
Scott has known Pettine since his high school playing days in suburban Philadelphia. Pettine and his father, Mike Sr., were both coaches in the same league.
”I’ve seen the types of teams they’ve put together,” Scott said. ”I’m really excited to be able to say I’m playing for them.”
Scott broke into the NFL in 2003 when the Penn State product was selected in the second round of the draft by Atlanta. He spent three seasons with the Falcons and one season with New Orleans before being signed by the Bills in September 2007.
In a separate move, the Bills announced they’ve retained exclusive rights to tight end Dorin Dickerson by tendering him a contract offer. Dickerson had nine catches for 117 yards in 11 games last season.