Ex-Vol Ratliffe dies

Former Tennessee offensive tackle Leslie Ratliffe, who lettered three seasons for the Vols in the early 1990s and later played professionally in the European and Canadian football leagues, died April 8 in a Little Rock hospital. He was 35.

Ratliffe played under UT head coaches Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer, starting at right tackle during Fulmer's first two seasons (1993-94) at the helm. He wore the No. 75 jersey and started 27 games in 32 appearances for the Vols.

Ratliffe went on to become a seventh-round selection of the Denver Broncos in the 1996 NFL Draft, and later had his rights traded to the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. His playing days as a pro came first with the Scottish Claymores and Rhein Fire of the European league, and then with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL.

Born May 22, 1973, in his hometown of Newport, Ark., Ratliffe was the son of Jerry Wayne Ratliffe and the late Velma J. Ratliffe. A member of the St. Paul A.M.E. Church, Ratliffe graduated from Newport High in 1991 as one of the most outstanding players in school history. He was named USA Today and SuperPrep All-America, and was Arkansas' high school defensive player of the year after helping the Greyhounds to a career 36-6 record that included two state championship game appearances.

In addition to his father and other family members, Ratliffe is survived by his daughter, Raven Lee, of Knoxville; and his sister, Pamela (Brian) Warner of Fayetteville, Ark.


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