Any time you can sit down and talk football with someone its special, but when you get to talk with someone who has played football at the highest level possible it’s even better.
I got to talk with former Dallas Cowboys defensive back Lynn Scott. Lynn was an NAIA All-American at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and also a 4-time All-CSFL player as well as a national champion. In 2009 he was named the NAIA player of the decade and inducted into the NWOSU hall of fame in 2012, as well as the NAIA hall of fame in 2019.
After college, Lynn was picked up by the Dallas Cowboys in 2001 after going undrafted. As you’ll see in the interview, he has played with and against some of the best players of all time. I know that we cover the Packers here at Pack To The Future, but I think it’s great for readers and fans to see what life in the NFL is like, regardless of the team played for.
There seems to be a disconnect, at times, between fans and their team’s players. Sure, we watch our favorite teams on Sundays and don’t think much of what their day-to-day lives are like. Some fans are just concerned with how many fantasy points a player can rack up. What I want readers to know are the blood, sweat, and tears that an NFL player puts into their game, whether he is a third-string player or a seasoned veteran. That is one thing I walked away knowing after my interview with Lynn. These are guys who have achieved the ultimate football goal; to become a player in the National Football League. I hope you enjoy our interview and come away with the same exact feeling I had.
BC: Lynn, thanks again for doing this interview with me. It’s an honor to talk with someone who has played football at the highest level possible. To kick things off, why don’t you tell the readers your background and how you made it to the NFL?
LS: I went to a very small high school in Turpin Oklahoma. I was lightly recruited by a few D2 and NAIA colleges and I thought I was going to walk-on at Oklahoma State. I ended up just going to school at OSU for 1 semester and transferring to Seward County Community College for 1 semester just going to school. The next fall I transferred to Northwestern Oklahoma State University. I played football there for 4 years. We won the 1999 NAIA National Championship my junior year and in 2000 was runner up. I went undrafted in 2001. I had 3 teams offer me a chance to come in as a free agent, NE Patriots, Detroit Lions, and the Dallas Cowboys. My agent and I thought that the Cowboys were my best chance to make the team, so that’s where I went.
BC: Recently you were inducted into the NAIA hall of fame. That’s an incredible achievement. I think it speaks volumes to not only how successful you were as a player, but also to the talent throughout all levels collegiate football. There’s been a lot of great talent come out of the NAIA, including former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy (coached at Baker University). What do you think about the talent level at the NAIA and what can players at that level do to get recognition from pro scouts, similar to what you did?
LS: I agree. There’s talent on every level of collegiate football. I played with and against more than a handful of players on the NAIA level that played in the NFL or were at a training camp in the NFL. If you’re good enough, scouts will find you. It helps if your team is really good too.
BC: You were picked up by the Cowboys in 2001 as an undrafted free agent. Tell us a little about what it was like to step on an NFL field for the first time as a rookie and what it took to make an NFL roster.
LS: It’s a dream come true to step on the field for the first time. The first time I stepped into the locker room, I saw the lockers of now Hall of Famers, Emmitt Smith, and Larry Allen. My locker wasn’t far from Darren Woodson’s locker who I grew up idolizing from the safety position. It took everything I had to make the team my rookie year. I was with the 3rd team most of training camp. A guy on the 2nd team got an injury and had to sit out a preseason game and I got my shot to start in the nickel package. I played well and started getting more chances to play special teams and defense and ended up making the 53 man roster.
BC: During your time in Dallas, you played for some great NFL coaches such as Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, current Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and also current Saints head coach Sean Peyton. What was it like to be surrounded daily by some of the best and brightest minds in the NFL?
LS: All 3 were great coaches. Coach Parcells came to Dallas before my 3rd year. He had won 2 Super Bowls as a head coach and is now in the Hall of Fame, so that kind of speaks for itself. Coach Zimmer was the defensive coordinator for all 5 of my years. He’s a fierce fiery competitor. He taught me a lot. Coach Peyton has won a Super Bowl since leaving Dallas. I saw him as a cool customer who always had a plan.
BC: This is a Packers site, so I’d be remiss if we didn’t talk a little about them. You played at Lambeau Field once in your career (2004). It was a big day for the Packers on the ground, as Ahman Green rushed for 163 yards and 2 touchdowns. I’d love to ask you what it was like to play against Favre, but it seems like he wasn’t the star of this game. Tell us a little about that game and what it was like to play at a historic play like Lambeau.
LS: All I could remember from that game was that Ahman Green had a really good game, 163yards, and 2 touchdowns. I went ahead and looked back at the stats and Favre had a good game too. He went 23-29 for 258yards and 2 touchdowns. I just played special teams that day, so I got to see Green and Favre from the sidelines. Lambeau has so much history and is a great venue for football. The Packers sent us packing that day.
BC: I love to talk about the Xs and Os here at Pack To The Future so I’d like to pick your brain a little on the scheme you ran in Dallas. During that time, it seems like a lot of teams were playing the Tampa 2. In today’s game, only 3 teams adhere to the philosophy (Dallas, Minnesota, and Indianapolis). What were some of the base coverages and fronts you played in under Mike Zimmer?
LS: We played a lot of Tampa 2. Zimmer mixed in some Cover 4 and Cover 3 along with some blitzes. Played mostly over fronts.
BC: To follow that up, what was the blitz package like and did he ever get you involved in his stunts?
LS: I got to be in some nickel and dime packages and we had some blitzes out of those. I didn’t blitz much out of the dime but did get to blitz out of the nickel.
BC: I’d like to ask you just a little bit about what you think of the current Cowboys team. It seems like things are trending up in Dallas as they made it to the divisional round in 2018. How do you think the Cowboys will fare in 2019?
LS: I think they can contend for the division. You never know in this league. Staying healthy is one of the biggest factors in my opinion. When teams lose starters, it’s tough to win.
BC: You spend part of your time now helping coach the local high school football team. The kids must be thrilled to be able to receive coaching from an NFL alumn. What are some of the lessons you take from the NFL and share with your players on a daily basis?
LS: Just go out and work hard every day to the best of your ability. If you want to be good at something, you have to work for it. Heart and effort over talent.
BC: Final question: You played against some of the greatest receivers of all time, including Terrell Owens, Joe Horn and Randy Moss. You also played with some great players, such as Roy Williams, La’Roi Glover, and Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Larry Allen. In your opinion, who was the best player you played against and the best player you played with?
LS: That’s a really tough question. Terrell Owens and Randy Moss were at the top of their game in the years I was playing and both now Hall of Famers. Tim Brown and Jerry Rice were towards the end of their careers and Hall of Famers. I’d have to say, Randy Moss. He was an unbelievable athlete. He could run by you and jump over you on any play.
I got to play with some greats as well. Emmitt Smith, Larry Allen, La’Roi Glover, Roy Williams, and Darren Woodson were all Cowboys greats. Since I was a safety, I got to spend a lot of time with Woody and Roy and loved every minute of it. They are both great men. I’ll have to go with Emmitt Smith or Larry Allen. Two of the greatest of all time.
I’d like to thank Lynn for doing this interview with me here at PTTF. Doing an interview like this gives me great retrospect as a writer. We talk about players every day, picking apart things they do well and things they struggle at. It’s a good reality check to step back and know just what it takes to make it in the NFL and to play on a team, for five years at that. I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did. I’m sure I’ll be back in touch with Lynn this year when the Packers travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on October 6th.
Follow me on Twitter: @PTTF_Ben