From the Plains to the pros: Jeremiah Ratliff

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comJune 29, 2014 

Chicago Bears defensive tackle Jay Ratliff (96) rests during a timeout in the first quarter of the game with the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome.

BRUCE KLUCKHOHN — USA TODAY Sports

Editor's note: Auburn has a rich history of sending players to the NFL. With that in mind, beat writer Ryan Black takes a look at each former Tiger that finds himself on an NFL roster (or should be once free agency and training camps shake out). The series will begin with those who have already been in the league for more than one season and conclude with the latest crop of players to land in the NFL, either through the draft or as an undrafted free agent.

Jeremiah Ratliff, Chicago Bears

Position: Defensive tackle

Drafted: Taken in the seventh round (No. 224 overall) by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005

Career stats (through nine seasons): Appeared in 109 regular season games (89 starts); 237 tackles, 28.5 sacks; four forced fumbles; 12 fumble recoveries; four-time Pro Bowler (2008-11); named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press in 2009

2014 outlook: Injuries have hampered Ratliff the past two years. For means of comparison, he missed only two games in the first six seasons of his career. In the last two seasons, he's missed 14 games, which led to the Dallas Cowboys cutting him last October. When he's healthy, he's a proven force, as his four straight Pro Bowls from 2008-11 attest. Shortly after he departed Dallas, he signed with Chicago and finished the season with the team. The Bears saw enough in his short time with them to re-sign Ratliff to a two-year contract this offseason. If he can avoid the injury bug in 2014, he'll be in the starting lineup, as Chicago has already put him at the top of its three-technique depth chart.

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