He was older than a lot of his new teammates, turning 33 this August. But defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff fit in with the Bears almost from the moment of his signing early last November, to the point that he was talking even before year’s end about continuing a distinguished career right here.
“This is a pretty good locker room,” said Ratliff, a four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle with the Dallas Cowboys. “There’s a lot of great veteran leadership here. And the guys are really together, so it’s easy to buy into it.”
Ratliff bought into the Bears big time late Wednesday, agreeing to a two-year deal that sets in place a major piece of the 2014 defense.
Ratliff was released by the Cowboys last mid-October after a protracted comeback from surgery on a sports hernia. His signing with the Bears became a virtual audition both for fit in a system as well as a referendum on his return to health.
After a brief appearance in the loss at Minnesota, Ratliff moved into the starting lineup at three-technique against Dallas, then took over Stephen Paea’s spot as the No. 1 nose tackle for the final three games.
“He brings great energy,” said defensive end Corey Wootton. “He’s a pleasure to play with. He brings that veteran leadership in there.”