Catching Up With ... Colts receiver Freddie Scott

Baltimore Colts wide receiver Freddie Scott plays in a game against the New England Patriots in 1977.
Baltimore Colts wide receiver Freddie Scott plays in a game against the New England Patriots in 1977.(Baltimore Sun file photo)

Make no mistake — a Ravens victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night would be music to the ears of Freddie Scott, the onetime Baltimore Colts receiver.

It has been more than 38 years since the Steelers silenced Baltimore, 40-14, in the 1976 AFC divisional playoffs. Moreover, the loss doomed the recording career of the Shake & Bake Band, a group comprised of a quartet of Colts, including Scott.


Come again?

"We'd started this band that played around town," said Scott, 62. "We decided to cut a record in 1976 before the playoffs. We had [wide receiver] Glenn Doughty on vocals and drums, [tight end] Ray Chester on bass, [defensive back] Lloyd Mumford on harmonica and me on the tambourine. The song went, 'We must get down, we're Super Bowl-bound.'


"Well, we hired a guy to sell the records at halftime of the Steelers game at Memorial Stadium. But by then the Colts were so far behind [26-7] that nobody wanted to buy them. I guess those old records are gathering dust in somebody's garage."

Scott's four years with the Colts were the overture to a 10-year NFL career in which he blossomed after leaving Baltimore. A seventh-round draft pick from tiny Amherst in 1974, he played sparingly (39 receptions) before being dealt to the Detroit Lions.

Scott led all Lions receivers for three straight years (1979-81) during which he caught 168 total passes, including 14 touchdowns.

"Looking back, I know the Colts never truly judged my talent," he told The Baltimore Sun in 1980.

Smart and skinny at 6 feet 2 and 170 pounds, Scott earned the nickname "Bones" because of his frame and his pre-med major at Amherst. He had thrived in college, graduating cum laude and leading the nation (college division) with 66 receptions as a junior.

"At Amherst, we only practiced three times a week," he said. "For me, it was twice. One of those days I had a lab class that was far more important."

A professional career never occurred to Scott until another Amherst graduate, Baltimore-born Jean Fugett, approached him after making the Dallas Cowboys.

"Jean said, 'Freddie, you're as good as any guy we've got in camp,' " Scott said. "That inspired me."

As a Colts rookie, he scored his first touchdown — a 25-yard pass from Marty Domres — in a preseason loss to the Chicago Bears on Aug. 26, 1974. His first child, Freddie II, was born that day, but Scott didn't know it when he phoned his wife after the game.

"I was so excited about the touchdown that I talked football for five minutes before she got a word in," he said. "What a thrill, to have a son. We thought about calling him TD Scott — but just for a moment."

Mostly, Scott played backup to starters Doughty and Roger Carr with the Colts.

Scott's most memorable catch? A leaping, game-winning grab of a pass by Bert Jones in the rain at Memorial Stadium to defeat the Washington Redskins in 1977.


Each offseason with the Colts, Scott attended medical school at either Johns Hopkins or the University of Cincinnati. But he gave that up when his career took off in Detroit.

"I played football longer than I ever imagined," he said. "And when I retired, I had four kids."

A native of Arkansas, Scott lives in Little Rock with his fourth wife, Faye. He owns a consulting firm and partners with companies that foster community-based initiatives such as literacy, health and technology. An ordained minister, he also serves as associate pastor of Liberty Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Little Rock.

"As a player, I'd get up at 5 a.m., pray and read the Bible," he said. "God spoke to my heart and said he wanted me to feed his poor, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to fight to help change lives."

His faith helped Scott on that tumultous day in 2001 when, within hours, he learned that he had been voted into the College Football Hall of Fame and that he had prostate cancer. One month after his induction, alongside John Elway, Marcus Allen and Johnny Rodgers, he underwent successful prostate surgery.

Scott's oldest son, Freddie II, played at Penn State, starred at wide receiver and played briefly in the NFL for both of his father's teams, the Lions and (now-Indianapolis) Colts. An ordained minister and motivational speaker, he is author of the book, "The Dad I Wish I Had."

The elder Scott embraced the text.

"I OK'd it before it was published," he said. "The title disparages me, but only 3 percent of the book deals directly with Freddie and myself.

"The rest chronicles the importance of fathers stepping up to the plate and spending time with their kids — and that was absent in our lives when I came home from football, physically spent, or when he had to compete with kids trying to get autographs from me."

And now?

"We work on projects together and talk all of the time," said Scott, who had a handsome Afro when he played for the Colts. "To Freddie's kids, I am their 'bald-headed poppa.' "


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