Cowboys cut DT Jay Ratliff

Cowboys release four-time Pro Bowl DT Jay Ratliff

10/16/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Nov 18, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff (90) celebrates making a tackle during the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Browns 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY SportsThe Dallas Cowboys certainly found a gem in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft - with the 224th overall pick, Jerry Jones and company selected Jay Ratliff out of Auburn. While only four other seventh-round picks from that year (Kevin Vickerson, Matt Cassel, Billy Bajema, and Ryan Fitzpatrick) are even in the league anymore, Ratliff has been one of the better 2005 selections drafted in any round. After a slow start to his career, Ratliff burst onto the scene in 2008, making four straight Pro Bowls from 2008-11 and adding an All-Pro selection in 2009.

Despite the great value that the Cowboys found in Ratliff, his career in Dallas spiraled to a disappointing conclusion. He missed ten games in 2012 with foot, groin, and ankle injuries. He was then arrested for driving under the influence just a month after teammate Jerry Brown was killed in an alcohol-related car accident.

Ratliff was considered a candidate for release during the offseason, but a contract restructure secured his 2013 roster spot. He strained his hamstring over the summer, however, landing him on the PUP for the start of the regular season. He was finally eligible to return to practice this week, but the Cowboys have decided to move on without him. The Cowboys' official website has reported that the team has released Ratliff.

A dominant nose tackle for much of his career, Ratliff was going to be asked to play the three-technique in the team's new 4-3 defense in 2013. General manager Jerry Jones adamantly stated his belief that Ratliff would thrive in defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's scheme, but it looks like we'll never get to find out how he would have fared.

Ratliff is now free to sign with any team, though passing a physical may prove to be a major obstacle for the 32-year-old. With such a strong track record, however, a team is sure to take a shot on the former stud once he is healthy.

Ratliff finishes his Cowboys career with 27.0 sacks, 16 pass deflections, four forced fumbles, and thirteen fumble recoveries across 104 games (85 starts).
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