IRVING, Texas — Jay Ratliff’s mysterious and rapid decline with the Dallas Cowboys has ended with his release.
The Cowboys unloaded the apparently disgruntled defensive tackle on Wednesday, saying he failed a physical after spending the first six weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform list. He was eligible to be activated this week.
Ratliff missed the last six games of 2012 with a groin injury that required surgery. The four-time Pro Bowler injured his hamstring during the conditioning test before training camp in July and never practiced for the Cowboys this season.
The ninth-year pro wasn’t seen by reporters in the locker room all season after hinting there was tension with the Dallas medical staff, and agent Mark Slough said his relationship with team doctors was “strained.”
But Ratliff tried to put a happy face on his departure in a statement issued by Slough, thanking “the best fans in the NFL” and giving owner Jerry Jones credit for “taking a chance” on a seventh-round pick from 2005 who went to four straight Pro Bowls.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Cowboys and it was always my desire to begin and end my career here in Dallas,” Ratliff said. “But I understand this business and now it’s time to move on, turn the page and begin again.”
The team said Ratliff had sports hernia surgery and expected him to be ready in 2013, but Slough said doctors told him the injury was far more serious and could take up to a year to heal. He described the injury as muscles tearing away from bones in the pelvic area.
Slough said he and Ratliff “never felt the need” to clarify his injury, even with his client getting criticized over the slow recovery time.
“If it doesn’t bother my guy, then I guess it doesn’t bother me,” said Slough, who said several teams have already contacted him about Ratliff, but that the 32-year-old won’t play this season.