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Scott grateful for fresh start
Chargers defensive lineman Ian Scott has just one word to sum up how he feels about his 2009 offseason.
“Grateful,” Scott said. “This is the first chance I’ve had in a few years to be with a team for the whole offseason program and get to know the guys and feel like I’m part of a team. It’s been fun.”
It’s been an odd couple of years for Scott, who signed with the Chargers late last September. In 2004-06, he started 33 games at defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears, who were one of the league’s top-ranked defenses over that span. He also started three playoff games in 2006, including Super Bowl XLI.
Following Chicago’s loss to Indianapolis in Miami, Scott became a free agent and didn’t find a new home until after the draft when Philadelphia signed him to a one-year deal. Then at the end of training camp, a knee injury landed Scott on injured reserve for the 2007 season.
He signed with Carolina last spring but arrived late in the offseason, this time because the team wanted to make sure he was fully healthy. The Panthers released Scott at the conclusion of training camp, which allowed the Chargers to come calling.
“It’s been a rough couple of years, but I’m glad to be here right now,” Scott said. “I’m confident in what I can do and I’m finally healthy. I feel like this year will be big for me as I get a chance to play.”
Scott’s first year in San Diego consisted of watching, learning and waiting. He played in four games and was inactive for nine others.
“It was tough standing on the sidelines, but I understood that I needed to learn and really be healthy, which I hadn’t been in a while,” Scott said.
As he enters his first full season in San Diego, Scott is now in a position to contribute. He’ll likely be a regular in the defensive line rotation this fall. With Jamal Williams working on the side during Offseason Coaching Sessions, Scott is taking many of the snaps at nose tackle. He’s also working at defensive end and as a defensive tackle in the team’s sub packages.
“I’ve gotten reps all over the place,” said Scott, who is lauded by his coaches for his physical strength and his understanding of the game. “When you’re in a 3-4, there aren’t a lot of roster spots for defensive linemen. You have to be able to provide value. When you’ve got Jamal playing nose, there’s not a lot of opportunities there. All the other guys have been doing it for a while. I’ve got to get used to it.”
Scott’s background has been mostly at nose tackle and as a three-technique defensive tackle, which is how he’s lining up in the team’s nickel and dime defensives. Playing end in the team’s base 3-4 has been a new experience.
“The end is a little different,” Scott said. “Especially when there’s no tight end out there, it’s a lot more space than I’m used to. As I get more reps I’ll be more comfortable with it. I love it because it gives you a chance to make some plays. It’s been a fun challenge.”
After experiencing their fourth different city in four years, Scott and his family have taken to San Diego. He looks back at his experiences over the last two seasons with the attitude that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
“We believe God has a reason for us being here and for the things that have happened the last couple of years,” Scott said. “Everything that’s happened the last couple of years, it’s helped me be a better husband and father and ultimately be a better football player. It allows you to appreciate your job. You never know when this is going to be over, but I’m glad the Chargers have given me another chance. Hopefully I can make the most of it.”