Posted: 6:30 p.m.
Bernard Scott, from tiny Abilene Christian, has friends in big places.
The man making sure the United States of America saw Scott's 96-yard kick return for a touchdown in Pittsburgh last Sunday that may very well have won the AFC North for the Bengals, just so happens to be an ACU grad. So is everybody else, it seems, when a Division II guy like Scott jets to the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award.
Lance Barrow, the coordinating producer for CBS' top NFL broadcasting team and an ACU center from the 1970s, was in the truck like he always is talking to Jim Nantz and Phil Simms during the game when Scott offered his school of just 4,500 students some free advertising.
"Priceless. You'd have to say it's priceless," Barrow says. "Jim and Phil made sure everyone knew he was from Abilene Christian."
Barrow also happens to be a member of the college's board of trustees and every little bit helps. If Barrow wasn't in Simms' ear, Grant Boone, ACU's radio voice, was texting Nantz about Scott's particulars.
It has happened before. Barrow was in the truck a few weeks ago when ACU's other rookie, Bears receiver Johnny Knox, returned a kick for a score on the Steelers. A few years ago he was in the truck when ACU cornerback Danieal Manning played in the Super Bowl for Chicago.
"We're all proud of where we went to school. I guess it's a nice story because we're Division II," Barrow says. "I got a text during the draft from a good friend of mine who went to Notre Dame. He said, 'What's wrong with this? Abilene Christian has two draft picks and Miami and Notre Dame have none.' When you think about it, I'm so lucky to be able to cover these guys on this level."
Scott is looking to make a bigger name now that he's going to be the Bengals kick returner. At a wispy 5-10, 200 pounds, the Bengals drafted him in the sixth round to be a change-of-pace burner. They had to give him the ball 13 times against the Steelers when Cedric Benson went down and even though he showed some breathtaking elusiveness running and catching, they don't want to give him that many touches any time soon. Which is a reason Larry Johnson is here.
But Scott says he can go heavy duty. In fact, he is starting to sound like James Brooks, the Bengals little big running back who was 5-9, 180, and played and talked like he was 6-2, 225.
"I feel like I can block anybody," said Scott, who has drawn praise from Carson Palmer for doing exactly that. "Blocking is who wants it more and I want it more. Honestly, I think I can tote it 25 times. I try not to take too many head-on shots. In think that's helped me stay around. I'm not a dude that's going to try and run somebody over, unless I have to. I try and shed it at the last minute."
Scott says "I feel good" after playing the big, bad Steelers. He didn't escape one shot, a blow to the chin as he was going to the ground.
"That was a welcome to the NFL moment," he said. "But I had to jump back up and keep on ticking."