Bears DT Jeremiah Ratliff shrugs off personal friction with Cowboys
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter December 2, 2013 9:44PM
Updated: January 4, 2014 6:28AM
One day after playing for the first time in more than a year, defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff sounded more concerned about improving his snap count Monday night than about who the opponent will be.
The Dallas Cowboys, who will face the Bears in prime time at Soldier Field, released Ratliff on Oct. 16 after he spent the first six weeks on the physically-unable-to-perform list recovering from groin surgery. The team cited a failed physical, though owner Jerry Jones later hinted the Cowboys might consider legal action against Ratliff for not returning.
‘‘It’s just another game,’’ the four-time Pro Bowl player said Monday at Halas Hall. ‘‘It’s just football. I don’t get caught up in all that silly rivalry stuff, or some payback. The thing is, we’re here to win, and we’re going to give every effort to do that.”
Ratliff played 23 of the Bears’ 88 snaps against the Minnesota Vikings.
‘‘Felt pretty good,’’ he said. ‘‘Knocked some of the rust off. And now I know exactly what I need to work on.’’
He and coach Marc Trestman expect he’ll play more in his second game with the Bears, with whom he signed last month.
‘‘I heard him come off a couple times [Sunday] and say, ‘Let me stay in my rhythm,’ ’’ Trestman said. ‘‘He felt he was mixing it up in there. So we felt pretty good that he’ll be able to play much longer this week.’’
Linebacker Lance Briggs, out since Oct. 20 with a fractured left shoulder, is ‘‘progressing,’’ Trestman said, but the coach was noncommittal on whether he’d be able to play Monday.
‘‘We’ll see how he is Thursday,’’ Trestman said.
Neither Briggs nor quarterback Jay Cutler, who has a high-ankle sprain, has been ruled out.
Left guard Kyle Long sprained his ankle early in the game Sunday, but ‘‘we expect him to be OK,’’ Trestman said. He also felt ‘‘pretty good’’ about safety Major Wright recovering from a pulled hamstring after sitting Sunday.
This and that
Trestman said he held himself accountable for the Bears only gaining two yards on two plays from midfield as regulation expired, forcing Robbie Gould to try a 66-yard field goal.
‘‘I think Robbie felt that he feels he can make any kick,’’ he said. ‘‘He went after it.’’
He praised his field-goal team for tackling the Vikings’ Cordarrelle Patterson, who caught the short kick and tried to return it.
◆ Long snapper Patrick Mannelly said Gould was ‘‘doing OK’’ after missing the potential game-winning 47-yarder in overtime.
‘‘Unfortunately, he didn’t make that one,’’ Mannelly said. ‘‘But we know the next one, he’s gonna make.’’