Jeremiah Ratliff's time with Bears marred by injury, confrontation

The Bears today waived Jeremiah Ratliff, an oft-injured veteran defensive lineman who had run-ins with teammates, media and even the general manager.

Yesterday afternoon, Chicago Bears security escorted Jeremiah Ratliff out of Halas Hall to the circle drive in front of the building, where he had an animated and heated exchange with general manager Ryan Pace.

Police were at Halas Hall around 3 p.m., which is not normal, so it it's safe to assume Ratliff, who has a violent temper, was the reason for their presence. 

The Bears today announced Ratliff has been waived. 

“We felt moving forward without Jeremiah was in the best interest of our team,” Pace said in a statement. “We appreciate his contributions and wish him well."

Ratliff is a four-time Pro Bowl defensive end who, when healthy, is still one of the better interior defenders in the NFL, even at 34 years of age. Yet he's dealt with numerous injuries since coming to Chicago, and has played in just 19 games the past two-plus seasons combined.

Cutting an aging veteran who can't stay on the field, that's not shocking. Yet Ratliff leaves behind a trail of confrontations in his wake, which makes you wonder if his dismissal had less to do with injuries or poor performance, and more to do with personality. 

I've covered Ratliff since he came to Chicago and I've witnessed first hand his explosive temper. 

Two years ago, in the locker room at Halas Hall, I witnessed him verbally berate a reporter for speaking about Ratliff under his breath. In training camp this year, Ratliff was inolved in numerous physical altercations with teammates. It culminated in one of the last practices of camp, when Ratliff got in the face of Will Montgomery and sucker punched him with everything he had right in his face mask. 

And remember, Ratliff was suspended the first four games this season for a DUI conviction, so he's prone to poor decision making. 

The news of his confrontation with Pace is concerning but, for those who have been around Ratliff long enough, it's not surprising. Ratliff left on a bad note with the Dallas Cowboys in 2013, after tensions between him and owner Jerry Jones had reached a boiling point, and now it appears he's burnt one more bridge on his way to retirement. 

The Bears are banged up along the defensive line and just put last year's second rounder Ego Fergusn on injured reserve. The club could have used Ratliff but he obviously ran his course in Chicago. 

The club now turns to Ziggy Hood, a run-stopping defensive tackle whom the Lions released just two days ago. 

Hopefully Hood's time in Chicago will be far less confrontational than Ratliff's. 


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