A lot has happened since Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff last played in an NFL game.
The calendar flipped over to a new year, Ratliff was released by the Cowboys after months of a strained relationship caused by disagreements about how to treat an injury and Ratliff announced that he wanted to be known as Jeremiah rather than Jay. And now he may actually be in position to return to the field.
Coach Marc Trestman said Thursday that Ratliff is “in line to go” against the Vikings on Sunday after practicing again on Thursday. Ratliff has been sidelined for more than a year by a groin injury that was originally thought to be serious enough to keep him sidelined all season, but he signed with the Bears shortly after getting released by the Cowboys with the intent of playing this season.
“We hope that he’ll do what we’ve seen him do in practice,” Trestman said, via CSNChicago.com. “The little he’s been in there he’s holding the point. He’s getting a [pass] rush. He hasn’t played for a while so we don’t have high expectations right now, but we certainly see the light and we’re hoping we get a little bit out of him and it might be Sunday.”
Defensive tackle Stephen Paea also practiced on Thursday after missing the last two games with a toe injury that’s bothered him for most of the season. Getting both men back on the field would be a pretty big boost to a run defense that has given up at least 123 yards in each of the team’s last six games. With Adrian Peterson on the other side of the line, it’s not a moment too soon.