By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Bart Scott became quite famous for shouting "They can't stop a nosebleed!" and "Can't wait!" into Sal Paolantonio's microphone one night in Foxboro. That became the prevailing image of Scott because, really, it was his most prominent moment in the heated Patriots-Jets rivalry that burned when Rex Ryan ran the Jets with his trademark gusto.
As a member of the Jets, Scott played nine games vs. New England. He lost six of them, and his teams were outscored 244-143 overall. Add in his games against New England as a member of the Ravens, and he's 3-8 lifetime, his teams outscored 295-170. He recorded no sacks or interceptions in those nine games, and his best statistical showing was a six-tackle performance ... in the game his Jets lost 45-3. On the night of his famed "Can't wait!" proclamation, he made just two tackles. His most famous moment that took place during a game involved him chucking a penalty flag into the stands and getting restrained from attacking an official.
As a player, Scott didn't do a whole lot to disrupt the Patriots.
Now as a media member, he's proving to be much improved in that area.
Now a member of CBS' The NFL Today, Scott appeared on Damon Amendolara's CBS Radio show and threw a match into a garbage can that was previously not being looked at by anybody else in the world.
"Gronk's on his way out [of New England]," Scott declared. "Because of injuries, and they don't stick with you when they see you slipping. When you have a big man that starts having back problems – he's only in his seventh year, and he has two years remaining. And guess what? They already brought in his replacement and they can get him for cheaper."
Scott added: "We talk about knee injuries, back injuries, elbow brace forever. Listen, man, you think Bill Belichick going to stick with you? Negative. He's not in the foxhole with you."
It was, by and large, a continuation of what Scott said a few weeks ago, after Belichick traded away Jamie Collins and Scott said that he wouldn't play through an injury for Belichick if he were a young player on the Patriots. And it comes a year after Scott tried (and failed) to start a national discussion about Tom Brady's lack of toughness.
Clearly, as a commentator in the media, Scott's had the Patriots in his scope from the moment he got the job. And after just two years on the job, he's finally appeared to have achieved is goal.
That is, his comments have caused a bit of a stir.
Scott made the comments on Monday night. By Tuesday morning, it was being bandied about all across New England.
Here at 98.5 The Sports Hub, it was mentioned on Toucher & Rich on Tuesday. Zolak & Bertrand discussed it on the midday show before Felger & Mazz sunk their teeth into it during the afternoon. The conversation spilled over into Wednesday morning on Toucher & Rich.
But it was also everywhere else. CSNNE covered the news. NESN was on top of it. MassLive had it. And then it caught on at some national outlets, like Yahoo and USA Today, tackled the story on Wednesday.
And voila, just like that, Bart Scott has managed to burrow his way into the season of the Patriots, who are 9-2 and sitting atop the AFC with five weeks left in the season.
Of course, the extent of how much of a distraction this Scott-generated storyline might actually cause can be debated. It may fade away before Sunday, and Gronkowski may play all 60 minutes and catch three touchdowns against the woeful Rams, and all may be forgotten before Johnny Hekker boots his ninth punt of the game.
But it also may have legs, because for one, any story involving conflict between a player and the Patriots tends to get drummed up around these parts. But on top of that, the story isn't altogether nonsensical. While obviously the Patriots have Gronkowski under contract for an extremely reasonable price for the next three seasons, many folks spent quite a bit of time this past offseason trying to spin one tweet from Gronkowski into a major issue regarding compensation. Add in the Gronkowski family's tendency to butt heads with the Patriots regarding injuries and recovery plans (a situation accentuated by a bizarre joint statement last year around this time), and an eventual separation is not the most outlandish thing to mention. In fact, Tom E. Curran issued a measured, thoughtful statement on that very point in a way that greatly contrasted with the way Scott spat out his own hot take.
On the other hand, Gronkowski is tied for the second-most receiving yards on the team and he has the fourth-most receiving touchdowns, despite essentially missing four full games. He was the leading receiver during the Super Bowl-winning season of 2014, and his value in the postseason speaks for itself. So yes, there may be reason to discuss a potential split at some point, this clearly remains a very unique case.
While it's not the most ludicrous thought to state out loud, the fact that it came from a famed needler of the Patriots when nobody else was pondering it does make one wonder if Scott was merely hoping to finally make a late-season impact on Bill Belichick and the Patriots. If that was indeed the plan, he has without a doubt found success.
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