On Wednesday, the Cowboys released long-time nose tackle Jay Ratliff after he failed a physical. Just hours after his dismissal, the former Pro Bowl lineman released a statement through the team website. He expressed his thanks to the organization that drafted him in the seventh round of the 2005 draft. Ratliff had been dealing with lingering hamstring issues that forced him to miss several games over the last two seasons.
Ratliff had been a part of the Cowboys' defense for nine years and served as the starting nose tackle for the majority of his stay in Dallas. He had 228 tackles and 27 sacks in 104 games with the Cowboys. He was a perfect fit for the 3-4 defense that the Cowboys employed for years, but Dallas changed to a Tampa 2 under Monte Kiffin this offseason. Owner Jerry Jones recently speculated that Ratliff could miss the entire season with his hamstring injury.
Here is what Ratliff had to say about his stay in Dallas:
"First, let me say thank you to the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones for taking a chance on me in 2005. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Cowboys, and it was always my desire to begin and end my career here in Dallas. But I understand this business, and now it's time to move on, turn the page and begin again.
To all my teammates, I want to wish them nothing but the best. Stay strong, keep fighting and always believe. I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you, but I will always support you and value our time together.
And lastly, to all the Cowboy fans, I want to say it was an honor to play for you. Cowboy fans are the best fans in the NFL, and I thank each and every one of you for the support and love you have shown to me these past nine years. I will miss you."
The Cowboys will play the Eagles in Week 7 in Philadelphia on Sunday.