In early December of 2012, Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter as a result from a late night crash that resulted in the death of someone on his team.
On January 22nd of this year, less than two months after the deadly crash, Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after he crashed his 2011 Ford pickup truck into an 18-wheeler.
With the Dallas Cowboys organization still dealing with the fallout of having one of their players dead and the other possibly facing two to twenty years in prison as a result of driving while intoxicated, another player on their team has been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.
According to the crash report, it was in the early hours of Tuesday morning as Jay Ratliff was traveling in his 2011 Ford pickup truck on East State Highway 114. He was driving in the middle lane, slightly ahead of the semi, when he moved into the right lane and ended up colliding into the 18-wheeler. As a result, Ratliff’s truck was then “turned sideways and struck a median protector…and came to a stop,” the report says.
According to Grapevine Police Officer Eric Barch, he was dispatched at 12:36 a.m. Tuesday to the scene of the accident. At first, Barch wrote that Ratliff didn’t seem drunk but that might have been “because I was upwind from him.” He also wrote that, “Ratliff was not slurring his words and seemed to be moving around quite well given the wreck.” However, the officer notes, “nighttime wrecks often involve intoxicated motorists.”
Officer Barch continued to observe the suspect: “Ratliff appeared to be in excellent physical condition. In my experience people who are in good physical condition can mask intoxication very well with regard to speech and balance.”
Given all that, the officer “felt I would be remiss in not investigating the possibility of DWI further in Ratliff.” After asking Ratliff some more questions, Barch administers the three-part Standardized Field Sobriety Test to Ratliff; he failed all three parts. At this point, Barch arrested Ratliff for DWI and brought him to the Grapevine Jail.
According to Officer Barch, Ratliff’s behavior changed once they arrived at the jail. He said, “At the jail Ratliff’s demeanor changed considerably. While on scene Ratliff was cooperative and courteous, but upon arrival to the jail Ratliff’s mood shifted from cooperative to verbally abusive several times.”
Cowboys officials in Mobile, Alabama that were watching practices for Saturday’s Senior Bowl declined to comment as well as Ratliff’s agent, Mark Slough. Ratliff was not available to comment as he shares a close relationship with Josh Brent, the backup nose tackle who was charged less than two months ago with involuntary manslaughter that resulted in the death of friend and practice squad player Jerry Brown.
There has been speculation as to Ratliff’s job security with the Cowboys after he got into a heated argument during the season with Jerry Jones and the two needed to be separated. Add his recent arrest to the equation and many feel he is on his way out of the organization. Jones was asked Tuesday afternoon if Ratliff would remain with the team.
Jones said that “As far as I’m concerned, he is outstanding, he has given everything he’s ever had to the Dallas Cowboys. With me, any of that emotion that was involved between us is only reflected back on many times that we’ve had in our own way some emotional time with each other. And it in no way before was ever contentious.”
He added, “So when you’ve got the kind of background we’ve got together, then if you have a moment that you might not have been on the same page, that’s like father-son, that’s like family, that’s like all that. That’s forgotten when you know each other has your best interests at heart. We both know that.”
Despite Jones standing by Ratliff, any NFL player that is arrested is subject to the NFL conduct policy. As such, the result could be a fine or suspension, so time will tell if Ratliff will remain with the Dallas Cowboys.
Jay Ratliff Charged With DWI
Adam Schefter discusses the possible discipline facing Cowboys NT Jay Ratliff, who was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.