- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- Citing health privacy, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett would not discuss the claims made by the agent for Jay Ratliff that the defensive tackle’s injury was more severe than a sports hernia.
On Wednesday, Mark Slough said Ratliff suffered “a vicious injury,” tearing two tendons from his pelvis and the recovery time from the surgery last December was 12 months.
“We don’t get into, especially under these circumstances, the details of opinions of injury and this has also become a legal matter,” Jones said, “and so you can understand the need to not comment on specifics at this time.”
Yet after Ratliff had the surgery last season, the Cowboys held out hope he would return for a playoff run that never came. Ratliff took part in a few organized team activities and mini-camp work in the spring, but he failed the conditioning test at the start of training camp after straining a hamstring.
Ratliff was eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list this week, but the Cowboys decided to part ways with their four-time Pro Bowler.
“We just think availability due to health has been the biggest issue with Jay over the last couple of years,” Garrett said. “He’s been a heck of a football player for this team for a long time, and Jay played the right way, he practiced the right way, football was important to him, he was a heck of a competitor -- heck of a leader on our football team because of the example that he set to everybody else about how you need to play this game. … We just felt like this is the right decision for our football team now and going forward.”
Jones and Ratliff had a confrontation in the locker room after a game last season but both expressed gratitude for their time together. Jones said he has a “long history of having an appreciation for guys who give it up and work and play through pain, and I do with Jay. So it is disappointing that that great career of his has to end.” In a statement, Ratliff said thanks.
Jones said he believed the closing of the door on Ratliff will help the team in knowing “help is not on the way,” but acknowledged the need the team has for defensive linemen.
“It’s a sad matter because we do need him and he wants to be out competing and helping his teammates and helping us win,” Jones said. “But I can’t operate in a world where I go back and take today’s information and apply it to decisions made one year ago.”