Bernard Scott - New Chief In Town
After everyone thought that Bengals theoretically can't get any more 'issue' players, they showed how wrong we were. Here comes the Bernard Scott, running back from Abilene-Christian! Probabation officers must be their best scouts. Here's something about this guy (NY Times).
He did not play his senior season after being involved in an off-field fight. He has been arrested at least five times and is finishing 18 months of probation for giving false information to a police officer during a traffic stop. He is attending his fourth college since 2003.
But his explosive ability as a running back has provided ample opportunities for redemption, the latest one at Abilene Christian University. During a 93-68 victory last Saturday against West Texas A&M, Scott accounted for 353 all-purpose yards and 7 touchdowns.
A 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior, Scott leads N.C.A.A. Division II in scoring (17.5 points a game) and all-purpose yards (248.8). And he is one of eight finalists for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which is given to the top player in Division II.
Although Scott’s talent has never been questioned, his off-field behavior could pose concerns for N.F.L. teams.
“Some people might hold it against me or whatever,” he said. “But it made me a better person, because I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
Candid when interviewed about some of his past legal troubles, Scott, 24, failed to mention that he was arrested June 28 on a misdemeanor charge of fleeing a police officer in his hometown, Vernon, Tex. He posted $750 bond, and the case is pending.
Abilene Christian Coach Chris Thomsen said he was unaware of the incident.
“I wouldn’t have him on my team or wouldn’t have him on our campus if I didn’t trust the kid,” Thomsen said. “I’ve seen him grow immensely as a football player and a person.”
After abruptly leaving Southeastern Oklahoma State University following a redshirt season, Scott transferred to the University of Central Arkansas in 2004. He rushed for 1,026 yards and 11 touchdowns and was named the Gulf South Conference freshman of the year before being dismissed.
Central Arkansas Coach Clint Conque said he removed Scott for striking a coach who tried to break up a fight on the field in the spring of 2005. Scott denied that he hit a coach.
“He’s a tremendous, tremendous football player,” Conque said by telephone. “He hates school, doesn’t trust a lot of people and obviously has some anger issues. I’m hoping that he’s matured some, but he maybe is one of the best pure running backs as far as balance, skills sets, vision and elusiveness.”
After a stint trimming trees in Florida, Scott returned home in 2005. While there, he said, he did not work and hung out with a rough crowd. “I was just running around doing foolish stuff,” he said.
Scott resurfaced in 2006 at Blinn College in Texas, where he rushed for 1,892 yards and 27 touchdowns. He was named the most valuable player in his team’s national junior college championship victory. He was also charged that year with stealing an iPod, a misdemeanor offense that was dismissed with his participation in a pretrial diversion program.
Yet Scott still attracted attention from Arkansas, Fresno State, Miami and Texas Tech. Academically ineligible to play in Division I, he transferred to Abilene Christian because of his relationship with its coach. Thomsen knew Scott in high school and was an assistant coach at Central Arkansas during his lone season there in 2004.
Last season, Scott rushed for 2,165 yards and had 39 touchdowns, breaking the team’s single-season scoring record held by Wilbert Montgomery, who went on to become the Philadelphia Eagles’ leading rusher. His touchdown production was also a Division II record.
“When he gets out in the open, it’s over,” Southeastern Oklahoma State Coach Ray Richards said in a telephone interview. “He’s like Barry Sanders. You can contain him, contain him, contain him, and then all of a sudden, it’s over.”
On talent alone, Scott could be a late first-day pick in April’s N.F.L. draft, said Gil Brandt, a pro football analyst.
“Everybody likes him,” Brandt said. “But they all keep their mouths shut.”