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Cowboys wait patiently for Ratliff -- again

The SportsXchange

OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff has not returned to practice from the physically unable to perform list and there is a good chance he sits out the entire preseason with a hamstring injury suffered during the pre-camp conditioning test.

There is no timetable for his return and he has already been ruled out of the third preseason game against the Cardinals.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said his focus is on Ratliff playing a full season and he doesn't care if he gets on the field in the preseason.

"I'm interested in him being in shape," Jones said. "I'm interested in him having the best chance to play as much as he can during the season. I don't have any desire to see him make a lot of plays in preseason. I know what he can do.

"So our goal should be -- and I know it's his -- to get him out there so he's lined up against the Giants and will stay on the field all the way through the season, relative to any injuries or anything like that.

"It's unique, because we know what he is and we see what he is physically right now. He's very capable of playing at the level that he's always played at. We've just got to not get in a hurry there."

Ratliff, 32, missed 10 games last season because of foot and hernia injuries. He has seen his production drop in each of the last four seasons. Jones, however, has no concerns about his age and says Ratliff is in the prime of his career.

Jones said, "I'm not concerned. If we can get him to where the soft-tissue things are comfortable for him, I'm not concerned about him playing at the level that we'd expect to open the season. I don't want to push anything over a preseason game with him."
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