By Matthew Postins
Away from the field Thursday became an eventful day for the Dallas Cowboys.
First the NFL announced that the Cowboys would play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London next season as part of International Series. The date won’t be announced until April, but this would be a road contest for the Cowboys. That satisfies one of Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones’ prerequisites for going abroad – it could not be a home game. There will be three games in London next season. The other two will pit the Atlanta Falcons against the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders against the Miami Dolphins.
The Cowboys played the first NFL game in London in 1986, a preseason clash with the defending Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears at Wembley Stadium. The game drew international attention and saw Cowboys defensive end Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Bears defensive tackle William “The Refrigerator” Perry end up on the cover of Sports Illustrated with a guard at Buckingham Palace. This would be the Cowboys’ first regular-season game abroad.
Second, former defensive tackle Jay Ratliff was back in the news unexpectedly, as his agent Mark Slough sent an e-mail to the NFL’s other 31 teams telling them that Ratliff would be medically cleared to play in a few weeks. This comes a week after the Cowboys released Ratliff and after Slough told the media that Ratliff’s injury was much more serious than the sports hernia the Cowboys had classified Ratliff’s injury as last year. Slough implied that Ratliff was unlikely to play in 2013.
“I don’t want to comment because of the legal aspect of it, and I had said earlier that I was going to focus on good things – the contribution that he made here, and this team needed him real bad,” Jones said. “It was disappointing that he’s not playing, disappointing that the resources involved aren’t going to guys out here making plays.”
The Cowboys gave Ratliff $18 million in guaranteed money and it’s unclear if the Cowboys will seek to get some of it back in relation to this new information.