Reporting Mike Fisher
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CINCINNATI (105.3 THE FAN/CBSDFW.COM) – Due to groin, ankle and foot problems, former Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff hasn’t played for the Dallas Cowboys since Nov. 18 vs. Cleveland. He missed his seventh game of the year when the Cowboys kicked off Sunday at Cincinnati.
But he was “active’’ in a sense last Sunday after Dallas beat the Eagles, Ratliff engaging in what sources call a “volcanic’’ and jaw-to-jaw exchange with none other than Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “They’re both passionate men and great men and they want to win, that’s all it is,’’ one source said. “But they were in each other’s faces. People had to intervene.’’
In six games, Ratliff has 25 tackles and 10 quarterback pressures and no sacks. Jones habitually approaches players in the postgame locker room to either congratulate or console. In the case of Ratliff – who a year ago signed a five-year, $40-million extension but arguably hasn’t played at that level since – Jones started the conversation by saying, “We need you.’’
Ratliff’s response was a heated one. Jones, 70, did not back down even as the 6-4, 303-pound player rose to physically challenge him and then made derisive mention of Jones’ age.
Ratliff was a rather brooding presence this week at the team’s Valley Ranch headquarters as he spend another week not practicing. His long-term future with the club is unclear. Given the tragic circumstances that have Ratliff’s replacement, Josh Brent, in jail on intoxicated/manslaughter charges, the Cowboys could use the help of a healthy Pro Bowl-caliber player – to angrily confront opponents, however, and not his own owner.
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