Jerry Jones on releasing Jay Ratliff

IRVING, Texas – Jerry Jones was uncharacteristically guarded with his words on Thursday, but he had a good reason. The Dallas Cowboys owner was discussing the release of defensive tackle Jay Ratliff.

Standing at a podium at the team’s Valley Ranch practice facility, a serious Jones said the decision the team made on Wednesday was best for both parties.

Jones didn’t reveal much involving Ratliff’s medical situation because he said “this has also become a legal matter.” He did, however, address the current impact of the move, saying that psychologically it allows the team to know that help on the defensive line is not on the way.

“I have a long history of having an appreciation for guys who give it up and work and play through pain, and I do with Jay,” Jones said. “So it is disappointing that that great career of his has to end. As it turns out, all great players have to have a time.

“Now, his career has maybe not ended, but I know he gave us great effort. He’s a tremendous competitor. I don’t look at anything but positives, I really don’t. We needed him when we had him, and we need him now that we don’t have him. But that’s the reality of it.

“We do, as I certainly would, wish him the very best and a speedy rehab and hope for him that he has more career.”

Perhaps the lightest moment of the 12-minute question-and-answer session came when Jones was asked about giving Ratliff a five-year, $40 million contract extension in 2011.

“Well, if I had a legal pad and could show you all the decisions I’ve made ever, it’s not the worst one I’ve ever made,” Jones said, quickly following with a smile.

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