IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys had been optimistic about Jay Ratliff’s chances of returning to the field for the season opener against the Giants.
Now, the earliest they will see the defensive tackle on the field will be Oct. 20 against the Eagles.
Ratliff was placed on Reserve/PUP today (on Tuesday) in an effort to trim the roster down to 75 players. The Cowboys also put Tyrone Crawford (torn Achilles) and Ryan Cook (back) on injured reserve, along with releasing nine players.
Ratliff is dealing with both a hamstring and groin injury, a possible re-aggravation from his sports hernia surgery he underwent last December.
The defensive tackle missed all of training camp nursing what was believed to be only the hamstring injury he sustained on July 20 at the conditioning test in Oxnard, Calif. He stayed with the team for the remainder of camp when other injured players were sent back to Dallas early for rehab.
Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones, the team’s director of player personnel was asked Tuesday if he thought Ratliff would even play at all in 2013.
“I feel confident that he will. I believe in Jay. I think he’s a competitor,” Jones said. “There’s some things that can be frustrating when you have injuries. Jay has a real injury. Those things happen. I’m convinced that we’ve got a (rehab) program now — he’s had a few setbacks — that hopefully will put him on the road where he can play for us at some point this season.”
The four-time Pro Bowler missed 10 games last year – the final six games with the groin injury and the first four because of a high ankle sprain. He also missed most of camp with a nagging foot injury.
Until Ratliff gets back, the Cowboys will likely start Nick Hayden and Jason Hatcher at tackle with a backup rotation of Sean Lissemore, Ben Bass, and perhaps Landon Cohen, a journeyman vet who has taken advantage of extra snaps with Ratliff out.
RELATED: Jerry Jones on Jay Ratliff starting season on PUP
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted the obvious today (Tuesday) when he confirmed on his radio show that defensive tackle Jay Ratliff could start the season on the physically unable to perform list, sidelining him for the first six games of the season.
Ratliff has been sidelined since the start of training camp with hamstring and groin injuries. The Cowboys had long held out hope that he could return for the season opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 8.
But Ratliff has yet to take his rehab to the point where it’s realistic he could be ready by then. Jones is still holding out hope but he can’t deny that sitting Ratliff for the first six weeks of the season might be the best move and the Cowboys only move.
“It’s certainly more of a possibility than I would’ve ever thought two to three weeks ago,” Jones said Tuesday on the New School show on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “But we’ve got to look at the next two weeks, carefully look at his progress over the next two weeks.”
Editors test … click on button below to download the MP3 file (Box.com)