Recently, I had the great pleasure of having one of my favorite current Cowboys answer a few questions for me on behalf of this fabulous site, Lone Star Struck.
When I think of Jay Ratliff, words like amazing, clutch, tremendous, unstoppable and fierce come to mind. He has become the heart and soul and driving force of our defense, and has played a great part in making it one of the best defensive units in the NFL. He has catapulted himself from a backup to a consistent Pro Bowl caliber performer who is now considered by many to be among the best at his position.
What many Cowboy fans may not know, is just how down to earth Jay Ratliff really is. He is a man of the people who takes nothing for granted and considers every day a blessing. He is a leader both on and off the field who always strives to be better and never settles.
Jay-Rat enjoys reaching out to his fans and started his own website aptly named JayRat.com . It’s a great site that is loaded with information about Jay and includes plenty of stats and trivia, a great photo gallery, and news and notes about his goals, his outreach to kids, and his unwavering support for our troops. To sum it up in three words, it’s “Jay Ratliff Unwrapped”.
Jay was extremely generous of his time and kind enough to answer a few questions for me about himself, the Cowboys, and the upcoming season. I hope you enjoy it.
Joe D: Last season you were an absolute monster on the field and finished with 40 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. You were rewarded by being selected to the 2009 NFL All-Pro Team as a first-team defensive tackle. What was it like to be honored like that? And how did it feel to prove the doubters wrong, who questioned whether you’d be successful switching from end to tackle?
Jay Ratliff: Thanks. It was a blessing to me, but I never really even thought about it. I only thought about some of the goals I didn’t accomplish. No matter what I’m honored with I think I’ll still be upset about my draft day experience. Weird I know, but it’s what drives me.
Joe D: By now you already know that Super Bowl XLV will be hosted at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011. First, tell us what this means for the city and the Cowboys fans in general, and then I want you to tell me what the odds are that you’ll be on that field with the rest of your teammates on that day? How’s our chances?
Jay Ratliff: Well I know it is a huge deal for our city and fans worldwide as we are constantly reminded every day. It’s going to be tough like every season is, but we have to be even more focused mentally. However, I feel we have a shot.
Joe D: One thing I know for sure, is that the Cowboys aren’t going anywhere without you. You have become such a tremendous part of the fabric of this team, and in my opinion one if its core players and inspirational leaders both on and off the field. You recently had surgery on both of your elbows. Please tell us how that went, and where you now stand as far as your rehab goes and whether you’ll be 100% ready for training camp?
Jay Ratliff: Thanks for the kind words. My surgery went very well. I went to Dr. Andrews who is one of the best in the business. Right now I have full range of motion and my press is getting better. I should be ready for training camp.
Joe D: Draft day is right around the corner… What particular areas would you like the team to focus on and strengthen?
Jay Ratliff: Personally I feel like we have what we need. It’s all about just getting it done now.
Joe D: We are so fortunate to have such a great player like you on our team and comprising one of the best defensive units in the NFL. Tell me what it’s like to be a part of this team, and dealing with all the ups and downs and rigors of an NFL season. How important is it to have good chemistry in the locker room? Do you consider yourselves to be a band of brothers?
Jay Ratliff: I love the guys we have on this team. There are so many different personalities, but we all get along and work well together. I feel that chemistry is the most important thing in a locker room. If a team does not have that, believe me, it shows on the field and they fall apart at critical times. So yes I do feel like we are a band of brothers.
Joe D: I think it’s great that you’ve started your own website (JayRat.com), and that you are so willing and committed to reaching out and communicating with so many of your diehard fans. Can you tell us how important it is for you to have that connection with your fans?
Jay Ratliff: Simple. If it was not for the fans we could not do what we do. You guys help put food on our tables. It is very important to me to try and reach out and communicate with every fan to show you all how we appreciate you and thank you. We owe it to you.
Thanks so much to Jay Ratliff and Jamie Tebbe, for allowing us the priveledge to have Jay answer a few questions for us. We look forward to seeing Jay-Rat back on the field real soon, sacking the opposing quarterback and thrilling us with your signature roar.
I encourage you all to check out JayRat.com.