Cowboys notes: Team mum on Jay Ratliff details

Posted Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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There is obvious lingering disappointment among the Dallas Cowboys brass regarding former defensive tackle Jay Ratliff. He was released last week for health reasons, but his agent announced Wednesday 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 being too injured to play for the Cowboys and being free to 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 had an agreement with him, and to the extent that you have some concern within that, that’s why you have legal.”

Jones acknowledged he was disappointed 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. This team needed him real bad … disappointing that the resources that are involved here aren’t going to a guy out here making plays.”

Garrett only talked about 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.

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

The Cowboys released him last week because it was believed that Ratliff was nowhere 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 Wednesday, roughly one week later.

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

Another factor in the decision is the friction between Ratliff and the team for much of the past 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 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 age and declining production.

Wilcox injured

The Cowboys suffered another setback Thursday when rookie safety J.J. Wilcox sprained his right knee in practice and will miss Sunday’s game at Detroit, a source said. Wilcox will likely be replaced in the starting lineup by either rookie Jeff Heath or veteran Danny McCray.

Wilcox was coming off his best game of the season against the Eagles on Sunday and was being counted on to help slow the Lions passing game.

Briefly

•  Defensive end DeMarcus Ware didn’t practice Thursday as he continued to do rehab work with trainers. He will likely miss his second straight game with a quad strain. Jerry Jones is not optimistic but is not ready to rule him out of Sunday’s game.

•  Running back DeMarco Murray practiced on a limited basis for a second consecutive day and is pointing toward returning to action against the Lions after missing the Eagles game with a sprained knee.

Jerry Jones made a point to watch him in practice and is encouraged.

“I thought, based on the way he was moving around in practice, the last part of practice, that’s part of the reason I was giving it the attention I was,’’ Jones said. “I thought he was moving around good the latter part of practice.’’

Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760 Twitter: @clarencehilljr

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