Jeremiah Ratliff is a 34-year-old four-time Pro Bowl nose tackle. He has been one of the NFL's best defensive players for the past decade. Now Ratliff is out of a job.
Ratliff missed the first three games this season after a suspension for violating the NFL's Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Ratliff then played two games and recorded an underwhelming six tackles. The Bears released him last week, but there is more to the story.
Ratliff and Bears general manager Ryan Pace engaged in a wild argument the day before Ratliff's release. Police were needed to escort Ratliff off the premises.
"We felt moving forward without Jeremiah was in the best interest of our team," Pace said in a press release after Ratliff's termination. "We appreciate his contributions and wish him well."
Citing a police report, the Chicago Tribune published a story Friday that quoted Ratliff saying he "felt like killing everybody in the building." When Ratliff came back to the Bears' facility to pick up his personal items, he said, "I am the devil" and wished death upon Bears staff members' children. Ratliff returned a third time for his cell phone, but apparently he did not mention death again.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) October 30, 2015
It gets better. A GPS ping of Ratliff's phone showed he made his way to Texas. The Bears called the Cowboys, Ratliff's team from 2005-2013, to warn Jerry Jones and friends of his whereabouts. Ratliff did not appear at the Cowboys' facility.
Asked about Ratliff, Bears head coach John Fox said Friday, "I'm a football coach, not a psychologist."
Ratliff is in his 11th season and 2015 was his third with the Bears. He was in the second season of a two-year contract.