Police report: ex-Bear Ratliff made threats at team facility
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff threatened team staff and said he "felt like killing everybody in the building" the day before he was cut, according to a suburban Chicago police report released Friday.
Ratliff also said, "'I am the devil" and he wished staff member's children would die, the Lake Forest police report dated Oct. 21 said. It says an officer responded when someone at Halas Hall called police that day to report that Ratliff was "very angry and irrational." He was seen that day having an animated discussion with general manager Ryan Pace in the parking lot outside of Halas Hall.
The Bears cut Ratliff on Oct. 22, the day after the incident. Coach John Fox was asked Friday how much of a threat he felt.
"As I commented early in the week, we were concerned for the building and that's why the police were called," Fox said.
Fox said there had been no previous incidents with Ratliff and that he didn't know why the player was so upset.
"You would have to ask him," he said. "We don't cut people because they get injured. I think at some point we have to do what's best for the organization. As I said before, we cut him because we thought it was better for our football team."
Ratliff twice parked outside Bears property and walked past security on Oct. 21, the report said. The person who called police to report Ratliff said there was "concern for the safety of staff on the property" due to Ratliff's statements and said it was believed that Ratliff "owns multiple firearms."
Ratliff was suspended for the first three games of this season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He started at nose tackle in each of Chicago's last two games and had seven tackles.
According to the police report, the person who reported Ratliff asked for a police presence at the Bears headquarters until staff left for the day Oct. 21 and when staff began to arrive Oct. 22. The Lake Forest Police Department provided a uniformed officers to stand by on the property during the requested times.
Ratliff's agent, Mark Slough, didn't respond to requests for comment.
Ratliff, a four-time Pro Bowl selection in Dallas, had 6 1/2 sacks last season for Chicago. He signed with the Bears after he was cut by the Cowboys in October 2013. The Bears replaced Ratliff by reaching a deal with free-agent defensive lineman Ziggy Hood, a first-round pick by Pittsburgh in the 2009 draft out of Missouri.
Fox said there had been no previous indication of a problem, although Ratliff did have one prolonged incident in training camp in which he was upset after a shoving match with center Will Montgomery.
"It's a combative game played by combative people," Fox said. "I don't know that those are red flags in the game of football."
Teammates expressed support for Ratliff.
"He was just a man like everybody else," linebacker Lamar Houston said. "There was nothing to fear. He was a great teammate. He was a great friend. He was quiet. I never really noticed him being upset with anyone."
Told about the police report saying Ratliff issued threats, Houston expressed surprise.
"It's interesting," he said. "I hope they have their information correct because it doesn't sound like him."
Tight end Martellus Bennett talked with Ratliff after he had been cut. The two were friends and had been on the Dallas Cowboys together, as well.
"It's a personal thing between me and him, so like I said, we're close friends and I just hope the best for him and his family," Bennett said.
Bennett said the entire incident can be a teaching point.
"There's nothing truly guaranteed in the NFL," he said. "So for me it's just the revelation of what this business is and you've got to handle your business the right way with what's going on around here and make sure you're ton top of your (stuff)."