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October 24, 2013

Jerry Jones expresses disappointment over Jay Ratliff drama, alludes to pending legal issues

There is obvious lingering disappointment among the Cowboys brass regarding former defensive tackle Jay Ratliff and drama surrounded his release week for health reasons and yesterday's announcement that he had been cleared to play immediately and was soliciting offers from other teams.

Owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett declined to go into detail regarding the disconnect between Ratliff too injured to play for the Cowboys and being free resume football activities with other teams a week later.

Jones alluded to pending legal issues for his silence stemming from the five-year, $40 contract extension Ratliff signed in 2011.

“I won’t be commenting about this because of the fact there are legal issues involved here relative to the league and otherwise,” Jones said. “But all agreements require people to abide by the agreements. That’s why you have legal issues. We obviously have an agreement with him, had an agreement with him, and to the extent that you have some concern within that, that’s why you have legal.

But Jones however couldn’t help but acknowledged there was certain disappointment with the Ratliff drama.

“I don’t want to comment because of the legal aspect of it,” Jones said. “I had said earlier that I thought I was going to focus on good things, the contribution that he made here, we all need him real bad, this team needs him read bad, needed him real bad, was disappointed that he wasn’t playing, disappointing that the resources that are involved here aren’t going to guy out here making plays.”

Garrett only focused on going forward.

"We made a decision like we talked about last week that we felt was in the best interest of our football team," Garrett said. "And we wish Jay nothing but the best going forward."

Ratliff has not to played football since undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia last December. He missed all of training camp and the preseason because of complications with his rehab. The Cowboys placed him the physically unable to perform list to start the season with hope of him returning after six weeks.

The Cowboys released him last week because it was believed that Ratliff was no where near close to being ready to return to the field and would not likely be healthy again until 2014.

That was then _ before Ratliff met with the doctor who performed his surgery and was cleared to play on Wednesday, roughly one week later.

"Certainly health was a huge factor in that decision," Garrett said. He hasn’t been able to play for us for the last year and a half. That was the primary reason we made that decision and again, we wish him nothing but the best going forward." 

 What's also played a factor in the decision is the friction between Ratliff and the team for much of the last year. He did his surgery and rehab with private doctors because of disagreements with the team's medical and training staff.

He also had physical altercation in the locker room with owner Jerry Jones last season because he erroneously felt his commitment was being questioned.

This was one year after Jones signed him to the big-money contract extension despite his advising age and declining production.

The Cowboys showed patience with Ratliff because his great play and passion in practice and games over the years.

With him now cleared to return to the field _ in what has proven to be a clear disconnect in communication between the Cowboys and Ratliff's camp _ last week's decision was certain evidence that the patience has run out.

"Again, from a health standpoint, we didn’t feel like he was ready to go. We just felt like that was the best decision for our club," Garrett said simply.

Clarence Hill

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