Bears rookie nose tackle Eddie Goldman may have grown up admiring recently-fired teammate Jeremiah Ratliff when the latter was a member of the Dallas Cowboys. But Goldman shouldn’t need more than a day of mourning.
“When I first got here, [Ratliff] kind of took me under his wing, taught me more about formations and tendencies and certain teams,” Goldman said after the Bears had released Ratliff for what many deem behavior detrimental to the team. “Just teaching me the things I didn’t know about football on the pro level. Him being gone, it’s not good, but it happens.”
Both Goldman and the Bears are far better off without Ratliff. Sure, it may hurt the Bears’ immediate future, but chances of making the playoffs this season were bleak at best. Goldman can learn far more about the NFL game from actual game reps than he can listening to Ratliff. We’ve seen flashes of what Goldman will be able to do when he settles into his role, and in a season in which the Bears are trying to establish an offensive and defensive identity, I’d rather see Goldman make rookie mistakes and take his lumps so that he’s prepared for future seasons.
From a team and franchise perspective, general manager Ryan Pace did what he had to do in cutting ties with Ratliff. Pace and head coach John Fox have worked hard to establish a new culture within the locker room where players are disciplined and the inmates are no longer running the asylum, as was the case the past two seasons under Marc Trestman and Phil Emery. Ratliff, at age 34, hardly figured into the Bears’ long-term plans and wasn’t providing much production on the field to begin with.