HAMMOND, La. (AP) _ Drugs cost Malcolm Scott his job with the New York Giants, every cent he had and the circle of people he thought were his friends. He calls himself a lucky man.

''Drugs killed Len Bias and Don Rogers and a lot of other people they haven't found out about. And they're going to kill a lot of other people, too,'' Scott said. ''Yes, I'm lucky. I'm very, very lucky.

''I'm lucky to be alive. Lucky to be getting a second chance.''

Scott, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end, was a 5th-round draft choice by the Giants when he finished at LSU after the 1982 season. He had 17 catches for 206 yards with the National Footbal League team in 1983, but the Giants cut him in 1984. He spent last year out of football. He's now a free agent trying to catch on with the New Orleans Saints.

''I was having personal problems. I thought I was doing well in football at New York, but my social life.... I was leading the lives of two people with two separate personalities,'' he said.

''I wasn't exactly living the life of the all-American football player.''

''I got sidetracked by the fame - being in New York City where you're surrounded by stars,'' he said.

''I just lost my head, lost what playing football is all about.''

''I thought that being a star was hanging out with the people who come at you,'' he said.

''But I didn't see one person when I got in trouble.I had no friends, no money - nothing but my family.''

''You watch the leaches come around you, offering you drugs just to be around, offering you so-called love. You think it's love, but it's not,'' he said.

''But when you get in trouble, there's nobody around but some roaches and four walls.

''Drugs take the whole mental attitude you have about yourself and put you in a category that you never thought you'd be in. You look back and say, 'How did I ever live through that?'

''I was addicted, and I am very lucky, because I was one of the many who said I can do it and get away with it.''

He's wearing his hair close-croppped now as a symbol, he said, of his rededication to personal discipline.

And he said he'll need all the self-discipline and talent he can muster, because he's trying to rebuild his career on a team that has three established tight ends - starter Hoby Brenner and backups John Tice and Larry Hardy.

However, Brenner, the team's leading receiver with 42 catches for 652 yards last year, says he isn't coming to camp unless his contract is renegotiated. Tice and Hardy have not signed contracts for this season.

''It's an advantage, definitely,'' Scott said. ''It gives me the chance to get in more repetitions, learn more, get in better condition. I worked hard in the off-season, but no matter how much you work in the off season, it's still training camp.

''It gives me an opportunity. I'm in control, handling the position.''

Scott said he worked for a while as a youth counselor while he was out of football, helping himself by helping others. He was selling cars when fellow employees persuaded him to call the Saints and ask for a tryout.

There's an air of poise and self-assurance about Scott, now. Part of it, he said, is due to experience. ''I've been through a couple of training camps, now,'' he said.

And part of it is due to having grown up a lot over the past year, he said.

''I had to grow up. I got out in the real world and found out it wasn't a piece of cake,'' he said.

It's a lesson he said he knew once, but forgot and had to learn again.

''When I was at St. Augustine High (in New Orleans) it was a well- disciplined school. People would come in an talk to us about drugs, and I was like all kids - 'I wish this guy would hurry up so we could get out of here.' Sure there were guys I knew who were doing drugs, and they'd offer it to me, but I was strong enough to resist it,'' he said.

''As I got into a little fame position, I started seeing some stars doing it, and I said, 'Wow, this is what being rich and famous is all about.'''

And now, he said, he's seen the other side. ''I've seen people who had two cars and big houses who are living in cars because of drugs,'' he said. ''I've seen a lot of people fall.''

It's important, he said, that youngsters in school be educated about the consequences of drugs.

''It's there. It's in the schools. What these young kids need is for us real people to do what we can to help them - educate them,'' he said.

''It's hard to start over. It's hard to get up and start all over,'' he said. ''You just have to be a man.''