Posted: 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013
By Tom Ryle
Just a week after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, Jay Ratliff is reported to be seeking medical clearance to try out with other teams.
Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff flew to Philadelphia to be evaluated Wednesday by Dr. William Myers to determine whether he can begin preparing for on-field tryouts with some of the six teams that have contacted him since the Dallas Cowboys released him last week, according to sources.
At least one reporter is claiming Ratliff has already been cleared medically.
Ex-#Cowboys DT Jay Ratliff cleared by Dr. William Myers this morning to resume football activity, per email from his agent to NFL teams.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 23, 2013
While it was always assumed that Ratliff would try to find another team when he was medically able, the timing of this news seems to contradict some of the things said by Rafliff's agent, Mark Slough, in a conference call with several reporters on October 16th.
Mark Slough, during a conference call with the media on Wednesday afternoon after Ratliff was informed he was being released by the Cowboys, said his client's injury was much worse. He said once a timetable was set for his return from a so-called sports hernia injury that it created unrealistic expectations for Ratliff to get back on the field.
On a conference call with reporters, Mark Slough, agent for Jay Ratliff, says NT is still recovering from injuries. Cannot play this year— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 16, 2013
There are some obvious questions that arise from the way things have changed since the Cowboys released Ratliff. Slough was altering his message the day after Dallas cut his client. At the same time, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was declining to comment on the situation because it had become a "legal matter".
Ratliff had an outstanding career with Dallas while he was health, but the final year was marred by injury and off field issues.
Last December, he became involved in a heated exchange with Jerry Jones after the Cowboys owner approached him in the locker room and told him how much the team needed him.
The following month, and only six weeks after former Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent's alcohol-related car accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown Jr., Ratliff was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
The recent developments are not likely to make the Cowboys forget the tension and conflict with Ratliff. And the appearance is certainly that these were much deeper than the general public could see, although some in the media indicated they were aware of how wide the rift had gotten.
As I wrote, tweeted and said in July, Jay Ratliff was never playing for the Cowboys again. This was just the finality of the situation.— Jeff Sullivan (@SullyBaldHead) October 16, 2013
With the benefit of hindsight, the best guess I can make is that the team really wanted to bring Ratliff back, but that he had become so alienated from the Cowboys, or at least parts of the management and staff, that he was not going to wear a Dallas uniform again, no matter what his real health situation. All this just makes a sad episode even sadder, but in the long run, it is probably best for Dallas that Ratliff is gone and the team will no longer have to deal with a possible source of disruption and conflict. We are not likely to ever know the full truth, and like the team, the fan base just has to move forward.