It was a few minutes past midnight Friday when Bart Scott‘s phone rang and his two dogs started barking.
The former Baltimore Ravens linebacker had unexpected visitors sitting in a car in his driveway: New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and secondary coach Dennis Thurman.
"I thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world," the Jets’ new linebacker said Monday. "I am happy that they did not 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 said, ‘Come on out, man, and get these dogs,’ it was the funniest thing in the world."
The three Jets coaches were on a recruiting trip to Scott’s home in Owings Mills, Md., just as the NFL’s free-agency period began. Ryan, Scott’s former defensive coordinator with the Ravens, made it clear he wanted the linebacker to be the centerpiece of New York’s defense. The Jets opened their wallets for the imposing 28-year-old linebacker, signing him to a six-year, $48 million deal later that day.
"They really showed me that they were serious about getting me, and they weren’t letting me go anywhere," Scott said.
He even can bring his dogs to New Jersey.
• KING OF BUSAN — Former 51s manager Jerry Royster has made it big — in Korea.
Royster became Korea’s first foreign manager last year when he took over the struggling Lotte Giants. And he got them into the playoffs for the first time in nine years.
Royster became a huge star. A crowd of 20,000 once showed up to watch him tape a commercial in which he spoke Korean.
"Lotte Giants fans are Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs fans all in one," Royster told the Los Angeles Times. "They’re more passionate than any major league team could ever dream of."
The popular Royster had to switch to an unlisted number and get a full-time escort to help him wade through the crowds — even in the lobby of his apartment building.
And at the ballpark?
"As soon as the gates open, people swarm into the stadium like ants coming out of ant holes," said Curtis Jung, a Korean-American from Los Angeles who is Royster’s interpreter. "It’s like a mosh pit. Picture a rock star going through a crowd. It’s the same thing. People are clawing at him, giving him high-fives and pats on the back. Sometimes he can’t get through, and we have to sneak out a back door."
• ‘MANNYCHESTER’ — The hype officially has begun for the May 2 junior welterweight fight between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton at the MGM Grand Garden.
On Tuesday, the fighters were in Hatton’s hometown in Manchester, England. Much to Pacquiao’s surprise, a good number of Filipinos came to the news conference.
"I did not expect it in Manchester because this is Ricky’s hometown," Pacquiao said. "I was surprised to see so many of my people in Manchester, and I think Ricky Hatton was surprised to see them, too. Although it is Hatton’s place, I think Manchester is now ‘Mannychester!’ "
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL