As far as NFL players go, Bryan Scott is a different bird. The 29-year-old Bills safety rides his bike to work every day. In Buffalo. In November. On Thursday, Scott and I hooked up to discuss the environment, his mad piano skills and how it feels to be drafted between two Pro Bowlers.
You ride a bike 2.5 miles to work every day in Buffalo. Are you crazy?
I’m an avid bike rider. I really enjoy it. I was able to ride until yesterday — it’s been snowing the last two days so I had to hang up the bike, even though guys were telling me to put some snow tires on and make it through the snow.
And this is also your way of being “green”?
Well it actually started out as a training method for me this offseason and then I carried it into training camp. But then I saw the benefits of just riding and the going green initiative, and I thought, ‘Well, I guess I’m doing my part of saving the planet.’
And you’re from Philly, right? So you’re used to the cold. Your teammates from, like, Florida and Texas, must shake their heads.
Exactly, they’re not used to this Buffalo weather and the snow, so they’re definitely in for a shock.
Another non-pro athlete thing about Bryan Scott: You’re a trained pianist who has performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. You also play the drums and the sax. You’re a different bird aren’t you?
Oh yeah, no question. I don’t think I fit the stereotypical mold of a professional athlete.
But do you listen to that music? Like, are you a Yanni fan? You were also in a film called “White Men Can’t Rap,” so I’m guessing you’re a fan of hip hop and rap, too?
Yeah, I listen to any type of music. It can be classical, country, rock, hip hop, R&B, easy listening, jazz. You name it, I enjoy it.
There are a bunch of dudes on YouTube who cover hip hop and alternative songs by artists like B.o.B, Eminem and Travie McCoy on the piano? You ever do stuff like that?
Oh yeah all the time, and actually because I can’t read music, a lot of times that’s how I’ll learn songs. I’ll go on YouTube and just see what’s happening. And when I come across people playing that on the piano I’ll just kinda listen to it and pick it up.
So if I asked you to do Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” right now on the piano, you could do it?
Pretty much. When I listen to it, yeah. Give me till tomorrow and I’ll have it ready to roll.
That’s crazy, and you also play tennis, right?
I do, I do. My parents were avid tennis players growing up and they forced me to pick up a racket at a young age. Then I kinda rebelled and put it down but picked it up again once I got to my adult life.
I heard you once picked choir over a high school basketball game. This is making me upset.
I did. It was one of those things where our original basketball game got cancelled, and they rescheduled it for a night where we had a choir concert. And I actually had to choose the choir concert over the basketball game. It was a previous commitment that I had and I had a pretty big role in the choir concert. I didn’t want to leave them hanging like that.
Well, that’s being a good teammate, regardless if it’s sports or not.
Exactly. I mean, if there was anything I could have done to make both I definitely would have. But I was happy with the decision I made and it all worked out in the end.
I was talking to your teammate Paul Posluszny, who also went to Penn State, and the guy is so smart, so mature. A class act. You’ve got so much more to you than football. Lots of you guys do. Do you ever feel like a few bad apples — guys like Plaxico Burress who are shooting themselves in clubs — make you all look bad?
Oh, no question. If you think about the structure of the league and how many guys are actually playing in the league, and then most of the stories you hear always seem to be negative. And I’ve always been a big advocate of trying to change the perception of professional athletes. Because playing professional sports is our job, but it doesn’t define who we are or the type of people that we are.
Looking back now, how weird is it that you were drafted 55th overall, yet you were wedged between future Pro Bowlers Anquan Boldin and Osi Umenyiora?
You know, the draft is such a crazy thing. And my career has kind of been up and down. And looking back at the time, I knew who Anquan was, I didn’t know who Osi was. And obviously they’re two great players in the league right now. That is kinda cool that I was drafted right in between there, but I wish I was going to Pro Bowls. I still work every day towards it and who knows what’s going to happen in the future.
Yeah, there’s still time, man. You sorta bounced around early in your career. Do you consider Buffalo a home now?
No question, no question. I started in Atlanta and once I was traded to New Orleans, things looked good there. But then I signed with Tennessee and it didn’t work out, but Buffalo picked me up quickly thereafter. And I feel very comfortable here, I love this organization, I love the community and the city. And I’m happy to be here. I hope that — as we turn things around — I’d love to be a part of this organization when we get to the playoffs.
What car do you drive when you aren’t riding your bike?
I have a Cadillac Escalade.
Don’t worry, Al Gore won’t blame you for busting out the Escalade as the snow starts smothering Buffalo.
Oh exactly, that’s why I didn’t feel too bad at all. It’s all over the place.
Good luck the rest of the season.