Chicago Bears: Jeremiah Ratliff Suspended Three Games


Nov 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (90) during the third quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears will be without perhaps their most reliable defensive lineman to start the 2015 season, as nose tackle Jeremiah Ratliff has been suspended for three games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.  Here’s official word from a league spokesman:

"Jeremiah Ratliff of the Chicago Bears has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the 2015 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.Ratliff will be eligible to return to the Bears’ active roster on Monday, September 28 following the team’s September 27 game against the Seattle Seahawks.Ratliff is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games."

Back in April, Ratliff pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to one year of probation stemming from a crash back in 2013:

"Ratliff had a blood-alcohol level 0.16, which is twice legal limit, when he was arrested on Jan. 22, 2013, on suspicion of DWI after a crash involving a tractor-trailer rig on Texas 114 in Grapevine, police have said.Ratliff was released from jail after posting $500 bail on the misdemeanor offense. Neither Ratliff nor the driver of the big rig was hurt in the wreck.The crash happened about 12:30 a.m. in westbound lanes in the 2800 block of Texas 114. Ratliff, who lives in Southlake, was driving a black 2011 Ford F-150 pickup when he attempted to change lanes.A responding officer gave Ratliff a field sobriety test “and formed the opinion he was intoxicated,” Grapevine police have said.Ratliff refused an on-scene breath test, so officers subsequently obtained a warrant to draw a blood sample, police said."

This is a big blow to the Bears rebuilding defense, which is already a bit undermanned in converting to a 3-4 scheme.   With Ratliff out, the spotlight will focus on second round draft pick Eddie Goldman, who’s been getting reps as the second nose tackle so far.  Besides Goldman, second year man Brandon Dunn and undrafted rookie Terry “Swamp Monster” Williams will figure in the mix.  Will Sutton, who’s been playing really well at 5-technique defensive end so far, could be forced to slide inside to nose tackle.

The Bears open the season hosting the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals before heading to Seattle to face the NFC champion Seahawks.  No word yet on whether Ratliff will appeal the suspension.