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December 10, 2012

Cowboys downplay a locker-room confrontation between Jerry Jones and Jay Ratliff

The Cowboys are downplaying a locker-room incident between owner Jerry Jones and nose tackle Jay Ratliff on Dec. 2 following a 38-33 victory over the Eagles. Vice president Stephen Jones said the confrontation between Ratliff and Jerry Jones was "no big deal."

Jerry Jones told Ratliff the Cowboys needed him, prompting Ratliff to bow up. Other players stepped in to calm the situation, and Ratliff angrily stormed out of the locker room.

Mark Slough, Ratliff's agent, declined comment.

Ratliff has missed the past three games with a groin injury after missing the first four games of the season with a high-ankle sprain. The former All-Pro attempted to practice last week but was unable to go.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett did not deny the altercation between Ratliff and Jerry Jones when asked about it Monday. The confrontation was reported by KRLD-FM.

“I don’t want to get into any specifics about a situation like that," Garrett said. " I do know this: Jay Ratliff loves to play football. He loves to be out there. He loves to compete. I think he loves his teammates and this team. And if he was able to play, he’d be out there playing.”

The Cowboys hope Ratliff, who has 25 tackles, including one of loss, and 10 quarterback pressures, will return this week. They started their third nose tackle of the season after Josh Brent was arrested early Saturday morning on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter in a single-car wreck that killed practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown.

“Jay’s situation is day-by-day," Garrett said. "We’re just trying to see how he feels when he comes in and what we can do with him on that day and how he responds to the work. He came out and tried to practice last week, early on in the week, and it just didn’t respond very well. He tried to battle through it and do a little bit more as we got closer to the game, and we just made the determination that he wasn’t going to be able to go. We’ll do the same thing this week. …He’s a heck of a football player, and he can really help us.”

Ratliff signed a five-year extension worth $40 million in 2011, with $17.5 million in guarantees. He is scheduled to count $7 million against the 2013 cap.

-- Charean Williams

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