like the one the Cowboys shelled out this time last year without doing something right.
I remember thinking back then, man, Jay Ratliff? He's getting $8 million guaranteed? Really?
And that's not a slight on Ratliff. I would imagine he said the same thing? He's just a quiet, hard-working guy from Valdosta, Georgia.
So signing multi-million dollar deals, getting high praise from John Madden and making the Pro Bowl isn't exactly what Ratliff was dreaming of as a kid, in college, or even once he got into the league.
"I really didn't. Like I said before, a lot of guys go to the Pro Bowl but they never win a Super Bowl," Ratliff said. "My main thing is still the main thing. I want to win a Super Bowl. That's what I want to be remembered as - a Super Bowl winner not a Pro Bowl nominee or whatever."
The most impressive part of his game is that we're not talking about Gilbert Brown in the middle. He's not Shaun Rodgers or even Casey Hampton, or certainly someone like Pat Williams clogging up the middle.
Ratliff is a converted defensive end? Not a converted end playing in a 4-3 scheme. Nope, that's an end that is now playing right over the center, taking on double-teams all day long. To compare, it's like a speed receiver that comes into the league and skips the transition to a slot or possession guy, but just goes to tight end.
The best part of it all, is that Ratliff is hardly any bigger than he was when he first got here. He was 6-4, 293 when he was drafted. Now he's 6-4, 302.
It's all those clichés we always hear about with him: drive, determination, will, all of that. Ratliff has it.
And people are finally starting to notice.