Jerry Jones didn't need many more later than that.
Either way it appears
"I'll put it like this about him coming back ... He never left, said Jones Friday night as he arrived at his hotel for the scouting combine. "I think he will be a great fit for this scheme."
There have been question marks regarding Ratliff’s future with the team. Not only is he 31 years of age with a high-priced contract, but he missed 10 games last year because of injury, had a heated exchange with owner Jerry Jones in the locker room after a game and then topped off his frustrating 2012 season with a DWI arrest earlier this year.
Despite that, Garrett quickly answered when asked if Ratliff is coming back to the Cowboys in 2013?
“Absolutely,” Garrett said abruptly here Friday during his press conference.
That was all he needed to say right then as he moved on to another question.
When the subject was revisited, Garrett said getting Ratliff back to 100 percent again is the No. 1 priority.
“The biggest thing with Jay is just to get him healthy, first and foremost and get him back to playing the way he’s capable of playing,” Garrett said of Ratliff. “The real positive thing is, in the games he played, he really played like Jay Ratliff plays. We’re really excited about that – what he did on tape. We’ve just got to get him healthy and going again.”
Ratliff missed the first four games of the season, which also included a bye week, with a high-ankle sprain. He then missed the final six games because of a groin injury that eventually required sports hernia surgery.
Still, the Cowboys seem excited about what Ratliff can do in a 4-3 scheme.
“Jay Ratliff is an outstanding football player. He’s been a Pro Bowl player for us,” Garrett said. “He plays with a great demeanor for us, great desire and passion for the game. If you look at how he’s played through these years, he’s never been one what we call a zero nose tackle playing dead over the center and two gap… he’s always been an up-the-field guy and played on a shade and done a great job disrupting opposing offenses.
“We’ll see where he fits as we go through the spring and training camp but he’s a great football player. We missed him last year. I think he only played in four or five ballgames, and made an impact. But we’ve got to get him healthy. We’re excited to get him going in this scheme.”
Ratliff could be facing disciplinary action from the Cowboys and/or the league regarding his Jan. 22 arrest for DWI charges.
Ratliff is expected to count $7 million against the salary cap this next season. He still has five years remaining on a contract extension he signed in 2011. If the Cowboys were to release him, they would save just $1 million. They could also designate him a June 1 cut and save $4 million this year.
But according to Garrett and Jones, the Cowboys appear to be ready for another season with Ratliff, hopeful he can stay healthy and adjust to a new scheme.