Former Ravens LB Bart Scott: Had to Make Sure We Had a Couple Players with Felonies

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 29, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05:  Bart Scott attends the the after party for the 2013 Fox Sports Media Group Upfront at Roseland Ballroom on March 5, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

While many teams want to justifiably stay away from prospects with off-field concerns, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Bart Scott apparently believes legal trouble can be a positive.

During the first round of the 2022 NFL draft on Thursday, Scott argued on ESPN Radio that getting players with felonies helped his team's "street cred."

Jack Dickey @jackdickey

LOL, Bart Scott on why you need “at least two people with a couple felonies” on your team <a href="https://t.co/hOxrpKlHwG">pic.twitter.com/hOxrpKlHwG</a>

Scott said (h/t Scooby Axson of USA Today):

"You have to get some tough guys, and everbody can't be choir boys. When I was with the Ravens we had to make sure that we had at least two people on the team with a couple of felonies, just to make sure our street cred was right, when we had to go in these back alleys and have some of these dog fights. Sometimes you have to have some people that's not no choir boys. That's why you have a strong locker room to hold them in check."

Scott spent the first seven years of his NFL career with the Ravens, from 2002 to 2008, contributing to some of the top defensive units in the league. In 2006, the squad went 13-3 and had the No. 1 defense in both points and yards allowed.

The team was certainly loaded with talent during those years, although several players were also accused of significant crimes.

Linebacker Ray Lewis was initially charged with murder in a 2000 case before later pleading guilty to obstruction of justice. Running back Jamal Lewis was sentenced to four months in prison on a drug-related charge, which he served in the 2005 offseason.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs was accused of domestic violence multiple times and was ordered to give up his guns in 2012 after his longtime girlfriend, Candace D. Williams, filed a temporary protective order.

Suggs was also charged with two counts of assault in a 2003 playground altercation but was acquitted of one charge and a judge dismissed the second in 2005. 

Running back Ray Rice also played with Scott during the 2008 season. In 2014, Rice punched his then-fiancee in an elevator. 

Even if toughness is certainly a positive trait for football players, it's troubling to suggest committing violent acts off the field is associated with toughness.