Ed Werder | ESPN
Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff spent Tuesday meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs and then went to Chicago to visit the Chicago Bears as he begins the process of determining where to resume his NFL career, league sources said.
It is likely that Ratliff will meet with at least one more interested team before making his decision, assuming there are multiple offers.
Both the Bears and Chiefs evaluated Ratliff’s physical condition and, based on their medical and training staffs, believe Ratliff is capable of playing within the next month and perhaps sooner, the sources said. A reasonable view is that he could be on the field in early December and through the playoffs.
The Dallas Cowboys released Ratliff following a dispute about his recovery from a groin injury for which he underwent surgery last December, even though owner/general manager Jerry Jones paid him $18 million in guarantees less than two years ago. He has not played in nearly a year.
Ratliff also faces charges of driving while intoxicated, stemming from an arrest earlier this year, six weeks after then-Cowboys backup Josh Brent’s crash, which killed teammate Jerry Brown Jr. Ratliff’s trial has been postponed until February of 2014.
The Cowboys released Ratliff — who was seeing his own doctor and following rehab protocol outside the team — when told he would not be healthy enough to play for at least three months.
The next week, Ratliff kept an appointment with Dr. William Myers in Philadelphia, who had performed his sports hernia surgery. Myers cleared Ratliff medically and his agent immediately informed all of the league’s other 31 teams of Ratliff’s updated status and availability.
One Cowboys source said at the time that Ratliff “decided he didn’t want to play for Jerry Jones any more.”
Last week, Jones referred to the Ratliff issue as a “legal matter.”
“All agreements require people to abide by the agreements. That’s why you have legal issues. We obviously have an agreement with him, had an agreement with him, and to the extent that you have some concern within that, that’s why you have legal,” he said.
The Cowboys rank last in the NFL in total defense, under defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, and have allowed four opposing quarterbacks to pass for at least 400 yards, matching the NFL record — in just eight games. The primary issue has been injuries on the defensive line, where Ratliff would have contributed.
Anthony Spencer played one game before going on injured reserve and DeMarcus Ware has missed games for the first time in his career because of a quadriceps strain, leaving Jason Hatcher as the only projected starter on the defensive line actually playing snaps.
ESPNDallas.com’s Calvin Watkins contributed to this report.
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