Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Wait a minute, he has a defensive lineman who will be 33 years old when the season starts, who missed a big chunk of the last two seasons due to injury, and who might be a backup when the season starts as one of the most important players on defense?
Yes I do. Ratliff will be the veteran presence in the middle of that line. After the Bears drafted Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton to man the middle as well, Ratliff has been tutoring them. His age gives him an intelligence that rookies just cannot have. He also has the appreciation needed for the game he loves. He almost had the game taken away from him. He survived his injuries and is ready to take on his 10th season.
The Bears are hoping that Ratliff’s presence will solidify the middle of the line, making it stronger and rougher. They had the confidence in him to get the job done. There was the choice of Ratliff or Henry Melton, also coming off of an injury. The Bears went with Ratliff and it is time for him to reward them for that faith.