They may not be wearing purple and black next year, but longtime Ravens Bart Scott and Jason Brown will take a lot of what they learned in Baltimore to their new homes.
Scott and Brown, who signed with the New York Jets and St. Louis Rams, respectively, during the opening weekend of free agency, each name-checked the Ravens during their first meetings with what they will now call their local media.
Fresh off signing a lucrative six-year contract with the Jets, Scott expressed gratitude for the team that took a chance on an unheralded rookie free agent out of Southern Illinois back in 2002.
Primarily a special teams performer at the beginning of his career, he burst out for four consecutive 100-tackle seasons from 2006-08 and blossomed into one of the most-sought-after players to hit the open market this year.
Scott flourished under former Ravens defensive coordinator and new Jets head coach Rex Ryan's attacking and physical defense, and he's looking forward to bringing that mentality from the AFC North to the AFC East.
"We won't back down from anybody,'' said Scott in a Monday conference call. "We won't take a step back from anybody. [The media] can expect to see a very physical, violent - I don't know if this division has even seen a violent defense.
"It's one thing to be physical and make a tackle. It's another thing to be violent. Violent makes (opponents) stay on the sidelines when they're getting hit and are questionable when their ankle is hurt. If they know (if they come back in the game) they're going to receive violence, they'll sit that one out.
"That's what we'll try to bring to the table and I have no problem talking it. To tell you the truth, you'll have to shut me up.''
So spoke the "Mad Backer" personality that Ravens fans had grown to love over the past seven years.
Scott also admitted that he fell in love with Charm City, where he lived with his wife, Darnesha, and two children.
He even said he gave the Ravens a chance to sign him before 12:01 a.m. last Friday, but minutes after the negotiating gates opened, Scott looked out his window in Maryland and found Ryan, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and secondary coach Dennis Thurman hoping to recruit him.
"I thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world," Scott said. "I'm happy they didn't get out of the car and get bit by my dogs. When I heard my dogs barking, I thought they were out chasing deer or something. When coach Thurman called me and told me to come out and get these dogs, it was the funniest thing in the world. I'm trying to figure out, how does he know I have dogs and how does he know where I live? They did their due diligence.
"It was really refreshing. It showed they wanted me and they weren't going to let me go anywhere."
At the end of the day, Scott insisted that his decision was not solely about money. Scott said he told his agent to narrow his list down to a few select teams, eliminating some immediately. He then noted that joining a team with a chance to win was his first priority, while the second was a good city and organization.
Money came in at "third or fourth."
Brown, perhaps the top free agent offensive lineman, also only took one visit before agreeing to his rich contract.
A fourth-round draft pick in 2005, the center/guard was a critical piece in helping the Ravens advance to the AFC Championship despite coming off a 5-11 campaign, having a first-time head coach in **John Harbaugh**, learning a new offense and blocking for rookie quarterback Joe Flacco!(/team/roster/joe-flacco/3e20766f-6520-4ca1-9901-44389aaea8b8/ "Joe Flacco").
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, another first-timer, hopes Brown transfers many of those lessons to the St. Louis locker room.
"I'm fired up," Spagnuolo said in Brown's introductory press conference. "What struck me first when I met him [Friday] morning was the person that he was. The things he said - he just spit out exactly what we're looking for. The team aspect. How unselfish he was as a player. Some of the things he went through in Baltimore. The things he shared with me. I'm very, very impressed with him.
"This is a quality guy. You talk about character and quality people that we wanted to add to this [team]. I tell you what, unless we're way off, he fits it perfectly. He's very, very serious about his job. I could see that immediately when I met him. I think he's mature beyond his age."
Brown, 25, did say that he thought about returning to the only NFL team he's known.
"To tell you the truth, I was hoping to stay at home with the Ravens," Brown said after inking a five-year deal. "Many players would like to stay with the team that drafted them and finish their careers there. And I tell you what, we did something special with the Ravens last year. Unfortunately, there's a separation between business and the personal side of football."
For both Scott and Brown, they'll be enlisted as cornerstones of their individual units. Brown will direct a youth movement and stabilization of the Rams' offensive front, while Scott can write a new chapter as the featured linebacker after playing alongside Ray Lewis his entire career.
"It's extremely flattering. I look at it as a blessing," Scott said. "I look at it as a new challenge, to take it to the next level, to put my imprint on the defense. I played with bunch of great players. To have the opportunity to move from passenger seat to driver's seat is very flattering. It comes with a great responsibility and I'm ready to take on the challenge."