Nick Scott was watching the NFL scouting combine on television March 4, and wishing he was there, when his relationship with the Los Angeles Rams began.
Scott, a Penn State safety who grew up in Lancaster, was in Fort Lauderdale, Florida training for a shot at a pro career. After a workout, he went back to his hotel and turned the TV to NFL Network. Defensive backs, Scott’s peers, were testing at the combine.
Scott’s phone rang, an unfamiliar number. It was John Fassel, the Rams’ special teams coordinator.
“I’m here in Indy, sitting in the stands,’’ Fassel said. “I’ve got your highlights up, and I’m wondering why in the heck you’re not here.’’
Scott had been a foundational special teams player at Penn State, special teams captain in 2017 and defensive captain in 2018. But most media outlets that rate potential draftees didn’t even have a rating for him.
Fassel, and the Rams, were exceptions.
That March day, on the phone, Fassel told Scott, “I’m going to to everything I can to get you drafted for the Los Angeles Rams.’’
They chose Scott in the seventh round, with the 243rd pick.
When Fassel called this time, Scott said, “What’s up, coach? You kept your word. I appreciate it.’’
Back in State College, Penn State coach James Franklin was posting on Twitter a video of his daughter, Addy, seeming to have an hysterical fit.
She was hysterically happy for Scott, whom Franklin described in the tweet as, “my daughter’s big brother and role model.’’
By the end of the video, Addy had pulled herself together enough to say, “Congratulations, …. I miss you.’’
The friendship began when some Penn State players were visiting Addy’s school, and a pickup football game broke out.
“She was having a bad day,’’ Scott said. “She didn’t want to play. I said, what if I put you on my shoulders and go out and play. So we did that, and eventually she got down and started running around on her own.
“Ever since then, me being a goofy guy, still having a considerable inner child that comes out, we’ve been like peas on a pod.’’
The Rams have nine safeties on their roster, including a veteran free agent, Eric Weddle, signed in March, and a second-round pick in this draft, Taylor Rapp.
Special teams appear to be Scott’s meal ticket for now.
“I do see myself as a safety first,’’ he said, “But I have a lot of experience, and a lot of passion, for special teams. It’s a phase of the game I’ve really grown to love.’’