ORLANDO – Since the Cowboys waived defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, the Cowboys have been rather mum on any discussions regarding the move.
But today, team owner Jerry Jones has confirmed the club has filed a complaint to the NFL regarding Ratliff and hopes to eventually recoup money paid to the defensive tackle. According to sources, the Cowboys are seeking repayment for his 2013 salary and portions of the $18 million guaranteed that Ratliff received as part of a five-year, $40 million contract he signed in 2011. The Cowboys are also trying to get money back that Ratliff owes on a suite at AT&T Stadium.
Since Ratliff was released by the Cowboys, it’s unlikely the team can issue a grievance based on the rules of the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, but instead have filed a complaint.
“It just stems from him not playing for us under the pretense of injury, and then days later playing for someone else,” Jones said in between busy at the league owners meetings in Orlando. “We just have a complaint and we’ll see where we take it from there.”
Jones chose not to get into more specifics of the situation and said he would prefer to get some resolve on the issue “hopefully soon,” although he pointed out these cases can take several months, if not longer.
Ratliff, who cut on Oct. 17, but later signed with the Bears and played the last five games of the 2013 season, including the Dec. 9 meeting with the Cowboys.
Injuries prevented Ratliff from meeting the lofty expectations of his last contract, which was his third with the Cowboys, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2005. Ratliff signed a five-year extension in 2007 before his last extension four years ago.
In 2012, Ratliff missed a total of 10 games with two different injuries – a high-ankle sprain that forced him out of the first four games and then the final six with an injury that was initially listed as a strained groin. During his six-game absence, Ratliff and Jerry Jones had a heated altercation in the locker room after a game at AT&T Stadium. Witnesses close to the argument say it stemmed from Jones trying to give Ratliff a pep talk and expressed the team’s need for him to be on the field.
Ratliff later underwent sports hernia surgery in January and was expected to be completely healthy by the start of training camp.
In fact, Ratliff participated in the conditioning run in Oxnard, Calif. in late July, but reportedly suffered a hamstring injury.
By the time the Cowboys broke camp in mid-August, Ratliff was apparently having more issues with the groin again and that was the reason the team kept him on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform), where he couldn’t play for the first six games of the season. After that time period expired, the Cowboys chose to release him. Soon afterwards, Ratliff’s agent, Mark Slough, told reporters in a conference call his client had a “serious injury.” However, Ratliff signed with the Bears two weeks later, and has since re-signed a two-year extension to stay in Chicago.