Cowboys release veteran DT Jay Ratliff
OCT 16, 2013 3:32p ET
Ratliff was due to come off the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list this week. Instead of being activated he was released with the designation "failed physical."
A four-time Pro Bowl player, Ratliff appeared in just six games last season because of a groin injury. After surgery in December, he continued to have problems with the groin and a hamstring issue and missed all of training camp.
Ratliff's agent, Mark Slough, said a misperception that Ratliff had suffered a sports hernia, a less extensive injury, led to unrealistic expectations for his return.
"This was a very serious injury. Muscle was ripped off the bone, the pelvis, in two places. The tendons that attach to the pelvis from inside the leg, and then from the abdomen at the top of the pelvis, were both ripped apart. It was a very vicious injury," Slough said in a conference call with reporters.
"This injury takes a long time to heal. The expectation from the beginning was that this injury would probably take about a year. I had doctors tell me that if this had happened to me, someone who wasn't athlete, it would take probably a couple of years to heal."
Slough said he does not know why the Cowboys did not clear up the misperception that Ratliff had a sports hernia. He said Ratliff did not want him to speak about it, either.
However, Slough also had no answer as to why, if the injury was so severe, Ratliff wasn't placed on injured reserve last season, or why he attempted the conditioning test at the start of training camp this year that resulted in a hamstring injury.
"That [conditioning test] caused a problem, yes," Slough said, but said the Cowboys did not force Ratliff to take the test.
"He probably shouldn't have done the test. I'm going to leave it at that."
Slough also characterized Ratliff's relationship with team doctors as "strained" but said there was never an issue with the strength and conditioning staff.
Cowboys officials were not available to respond Wednesday.
Ratliff and owner Jerry Jones had to be separated in the locker room after a game last December. Ratliff reacted angrily to Jones making a statement meant to encourage him to return from injury.
Then last January, Ratliff was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after crashing his pickup truck into an 18-wheeler. The incident happened less than two months after fellow defensive lineman Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter in a car crash that killed teammate Jerry Brown.
While on the PUP list, Ratliff had been rehabbing his injuries on his own and not at the Cowboys' training facility. He met with Cowboys officials this week to discuss his status.
Ratliff released an official statement through Slough:
"First let me say thank you to the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones for taking a chance on me in 2005. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Cowboys and it was always my desire to begin and end my career here in Dallas. But I understand this business and now it's time to move on, turn the page and begin again.
"To all my teammates, I want to wish them nothing but the best. Stay strong, keep fighting and always believe. I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you, but I will always support you and value our time together.
"And to all the Cowboy fans, I want to say it was an honor to play for you. Cowboy fans are the best fans in the NFL and I thank each and every one of you for the support and love you have shown to me these past 9 years. I will miss you."
The release comes at a time when the Cowboys are especially thin on the defensive line. Starting defensive ends DeMarcus Ware and George Selvie were held out of practice Wednesday and starting tackle Jason Hatcher was limited.
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
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