He was released by Dallas a few weeks ago, rather than be activated from the physically unable to perform list. Reportedly, he failed a physical given to him by team doctors. Ratliff strained his hamstring in the preseason and was still recovering from a groin injury he suffered last season, limiting him to just 6 games.
Dallas travels to Chicago on December 9th in to play in a prime time matchup on Monday Night Football. Ratliff denied signing with the Bears because they play the Cowboys. He also made trips to Miami and Kansas City before deciding on Chicago as his next employer.
“I thought it was a first-class organization, the way they handled their business,” Ratliff told WMVP-AM 1000 on Monday in Chicago. “The accountability of the locker room, the seriousness about the game of football….I talked with the training staff there and feel comfortable with them. They believe in me. I believe in them.”
“It’s just a couple of weeks out. (Get in) football shape, and get my legs up under me, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready to go.”
Ratliff, a 6-foot-4, 293 pound defensive lineman has 317 tackles, 27 sacks, 15 passes defended, 13 fumble recoveries and 4 forced fumbles in his 9 year career (104 games, 85 starts). The four time Pro Bowler’s (2008-2011) best season was 2008 when he recorded 51 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 5 PD’ed and recovered 1 fumble as a starting Nose tackle.
He followed that up by registering 39 tackles, 6 sacks, 4 FR’s and 2 FF’s on a Dallas team that went 11-5 and made the playoffs, advancing to the NFC Divisional round before losing to the Minnesota Vikings, 34-3. It was the last time the Cowboys have made the postseason.
Ratliff will challenge starting DT Corey Wooten (14 tackles, 2 FR’s and 1 sack) for a starting job, next to Stephen Paea (15 tackles and 0.5 sacks in 6 games). Wooten is a natural defensive end and was playing out of position due to Henry Melton’s season-ending injury to his left knee in their 40-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ratliff’s experience should be a welcome addition at defensive tackle, he likely signed with the team because they give him the most opportunity for immediate playing time when he’s ready to return.
However, he comes with off the field baggage as well. He has been charged with driving while under the influence and his trial will be in February. But, the Bears thought the reward outweighed the risk and got an upgrade at a key position on the defensive line.
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