The Ravens signed former Cincinnati Bengals running back Bernard Scott on Monday, adding speed and fresh legs to their backfield.
Scott, a 2009 sixth-round draft pick by the Bengals, was released from the team’s reserve physically unable to perform list earlier this season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last year. He played in only two games last season, rushing for 35 yards on eight carries.
Scott is a 5-foot-10, 195-pound back, who is regarded as a versatile runner.
“He’s got all those skills as far as he’s a bit of a perimeter runner,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Not that he won’t run between the tackles, he will, but he’s a speed guy on the perimeter, a pass-catcher out of the backfield.
“He’s always done a pretty good job of pass protection as well. He’s a threat. He’s a dangerous guy. He’s a guy that can take it the distance really at any time.”
Scott, 29, played collegiately at Abilene Christian where he broke Ravens running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery’s career and single-season rushing records as he rushed for 4,321 yards and 73 touchdowns in two seasons. Scott’s brother is St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson, and his cousin is New York Jets wide receiver Clyde Gates.
“Wilbert has been proud of those guys that come out of there,” Harbaugh said of Montgomery, a former Philadelphia Eagles star running back. “There are always fast guys, it seems, like that who come out of Abilene Christian starting with Wilbert.”
Scott worked out for the Ravens two weeks ago and was signed to a one-year contract for the veteran minimum salary. The Ravens auditioned former Arizona Cardinals starting running back Beanie Wells last week, but he tore his Achilles tendon during the early portion of the workout and is out the rest of the season.
The Ravens made it a priority to bolster their depth at running back due to injuries. Three-time Pro Bowl runner Ray Rice has dealt with a strained left hip flexor this season, and backup Bernard Pierce aggravated a hamstring injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to the Ravens’ bye. The Ravens have struggled to establish the run this season, ranking 27th in the NFL in rushing offense and averaging 74 yards per game on the ground.
With the signing, the Ravens are now back up to 53 players on the roster after trading offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie to the Miami Dolphins last week.
Scott has rushed for 1,035 career yards and four touchdowns with 29 receptions for 165 yards in four NFL seasons. He’s returned 73 kickoffs for 1,787 yards and one touchdown.
It wasn’t immediately clear what kind of role the Ravens envision for Scott on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, but they could need him to contribute right away in a reserve role if Pierce is limited or sidelined.
“I think we just play it by ear,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll just have to see how it plays out, and it’s hard to say. We’re going to get him ready as quickly as we can, and there’s no reason he can’t be ready and up to speed very rapidly.”