Cowboys players react to losing Jay Ratliff

October, 17, 2013
10/17/13
4:50
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys lost one of their more trusted veterans when the team decided to release defensive tackle Jay Ratliff on Wednesday.

Ratliff had forged close relationships with several players during his nine seasons in Dallas.

"You know, it’s sad not to happen here," defensive end DeMarcus Ware said. "But I just know at the end of the day, for a player to have the opportunity to be on the market and playing and still do the things that he does, I think it’s always a blessing. You just have to look at it that way."

Ware said he spoke to Ratliff on Wednesday in the trainers' room and expects him to play again but isn't sure about this season.

"I don’t know. He doesn’t know that part and I don’t know that part," Ware said. "He was in good spirits. He came up here. That’s where I talked to him. Everything was good."

Tight end Jason Witten was a Cowboys player two seasons before Ratliff arrived. Witten noted the struggles Ratliff endured the past few months with his health.

"It seems like it's been a tough road," Witten said. "Jay's been out this whole season. I have a lot of respect for him. I was here when he came in as a late draft pick and he worked for everything he ever got. He worked himself into a really good football player. I hope he gets healthy and I know he's got some football left in him to play at a high level. I have a lot of respect for him he was a good player for a long time in a Cowboys uniform."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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