The Chicago Bears have filled at least one hole on their defensive line, announcing a two-year contract extension for defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff on Wednesday evening.
The signing comes less than a week before free agency begins and allows the Bears to continue working with a 10th-year veteran with whom they united in midseason last fall.
“I’m excited about signing,” Ratliff said on Wednesday. “Like I said (before the season ended), I wanted to end my career here. I am definitely excited to work with coach (Paul) Pasqualoni again.”
“I didn’t want to go to free agency. I didn’t want to get to know another ball club, coaches, players, another scheme. I liked what I saw in Chicago and I believe we have a chance to win. That is where I want to take my shot.”
Ratliff signed with the Bears in early-November, not long after he was released by the Cowboys. Recovering from a serious sports hernia injury suffered at the tail end of 2012, Ratliff didn’t see his first game action until Week 13. But he showed enough signs of promise over the Bears’ final five games for general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman to endorse his return.
Team statistics credited Ratliff with 14 1/2 tackles, including 1 1/2 for loss in his five games last season. He also had three quarterback pressures and seemed to be at his most disruptive in a key 38-31 win in Cleveland in Week 15.
After being released by the Cowboys last fall, Ratliff had an opportunity to explore the open market somewhat and found a suitable opportunity with the Bears. He developed significant comfort within the organization and the defense in his limited time here last season. And his decision to re-sign with the Bears was aided by the organization’s January hiring of Pasqualoni as the new defensive line coach.
Pasqualoni was Ratliff’s position coach in 2010 and became the Cowboys’ interim defensive coordinator that season after the firing of Wade Phillips.
Terms of Ratliff’s new deal with the Bears have not yet been disclosed.
Bears have now signed 10 players who were due to become unrestricted free agents March 11, most of any team in the NFL.