CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bears agreed to a one-year contract with former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, hoping he can boost their struggling line once he's ready to play.
Agent Mark Slough confirmed the move Saturday, and the team announced the deal a few hours later. Slough said Ratliff will join the team sometime next week and should be ready to play in two to four weeks.
A four-time Pro Bowl pick, Ratliff is joining a struggling defensive line. He also is getting a fresh start after being released by Dallas in mid-October.
The Cowboys said at the time that he failed a physical after spending the first six weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform list. Ratliff missed the last six games of 2012 with a groin injury that required surgery and never practiced for Dallas this season.
Slough said Ratliff was cleared by the surgeon a few weeks ago and his client is "good to go." He just has to "get over that last 10, 15 percent."
That probably can't happen soon enough for the Bears, who struggled right from the start to generate pressure and then got hit hard by injuries. Even so, Slough said the team won't rush Ratliff.
"The Bears are going to be patient," he said. "It's more about getting him ready and right."
The Bears (4-3) have dropped three of four and are trying to keep pace with Green Bay and Detroit in the tough NFC North. They visit the Packers on Monday night and will likely have to get by at least for the next few weeks without quarterback Jay Cutler (torn groin muscle) and star linebacker Lance Briggs (small fracture in the left shoulder), who were injured in a loss at Washington on Oct. 20.