Cowboys' Jay Ratliff facing DWI charge

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by JONATHAN BETZ and JOE TRAHAN

WFAA

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 6:48 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 23 at 6:54 AM

Veteran Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated early Tuesday morning.

Grapevine police spokesman Sam Shemwell said Ratliff's black Ford F-150 pickup truck went out of control after sideswiping an 18-wheeler in the 2800 block of Highway 114 shortly after midnight.

Ratliff, 31,  was not injured after crashing into a guardrail.

While no alcohol containers were found inside Ratliff's truck, officers responding to the scene arrested him after observing "clear indications" that he had been drinking.

Ratliff refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test at the scene of the crash, so he was taken to the police station, where a warrant was obtained to draw blood for a determination of his blood alcohol content.

Ratliff was released on a $500 bond before noon.

Jay Ratliff has played for the Cowboys for his entire professional career, since 2005.

Teammate Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter in December following a crash in Irving in which teammate Jerry Brown Jr. was killed.

Cowboys power brokers are all at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama this week. They declined comment on Ratliff's arrest.

Before the news broke on Tuesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked about a locker room argument he had with Ratliff late in the season. Jones said it was like a family squabble, and he dismissed it.

Now the team -- and Ratliff -- must deal with this.

Ratliff has battled injuries for the better part of the last two seasons, and the team's switch to a new 4-3 defensive scheme next season would mean a change in responsibilities for #90, possibly giving him a chance not to face a double team with two blockers on every play.

Now all of that is on hold pending the resolution of his legal problems.

Jonathan Betz reported from Cowboys headquarters in Valley Ranch; Joe Trahan reported from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

 E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com and jtrahan@wfaa.com

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