IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys begin the process of whittling down their roster from 88 players to 53 by Saturday, one option under consideration is moving Jay Ratliff to the reserve/physically unable to perform list.
If the Cowboys choose to put Ratliff on the reserve/PUP list, he would miss the first six games. He would be eligible to play Oct. 20 at Philadelphia, but the Cowboys would have three weeks to practice Ratliff and then another three weeks to move him to the active roster.
Coach Jason Garrett did not rule out the possibility on Monday.
“We’re just going to take it day by day,” Garrett said.
Ratliff declined comment in the locker room.
When the Cowboys placed Ratliff on the active/PUP list to open training camp, it was under the notion it would be a short stay and he would practice once a strained hamstring suffered in the conditioning run healed.
Mackenzy Bernadeau suffered a hamstring injury in the same run and was placed on active/PUP but has been practicing since Aug. 2.
That Ratliff is still recovering from a sports hernia surgery from December raises serious questions, starting with what did he do in the offseason? He did not go through his rehab at Valley Ranch and was extremely limited in the organized team activities and June minicamp.
In Oxnard, Calif., all the injured players worked rehab on the field with associate athletic trainer Britt Brown or strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik. Ratliff did not do any on-field rehab work, but he did some individual pass-rush work with assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett.
“He does a lot of stuff in the weight room or by himself on the side with some of the guys that we have helping him with the rehab,” Garrett said. “Really, the biggest thing with him is gaining some strength to get to the point where he can start doing some stuff on the field.”
Linebacker Alex Albright had a sports hernia surgery after the season ended and was able to practice in the spring. Former cornerback Terence Newman had the surgery in 2008 and was back on the field in six weeks.
“I just think you’ve got to be careful comparing injuries,” Garrett said. “They can be the same kind of injury, but sometimes different people respond to the different severity of the injury. With Jay, we’re going to make sure he’s healthy and ready to go before we bring him back, like we would do with any player.”
Last year the Cowboys did not put Ratliff on injured reserve after he had the surgery because they held out hope he could return for a possible playoff run.
Not only did the Cowboys not make the playoffs, but eight months later Ratliff still can’t get on the field, and the Cowboys could keep him out -- at the latest -- until Nov. 28 when they play Oakland on Thanksgiving.