Bengals have "reached out" to former Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Cincinnati Bengals are exploring their options in free agency to help replenish a depleted defensive tackle position.

With the loss of Geno Atkins Thursday night, the Bengals are expected to address their depleted defensive tackle position through free agency. Devon Still, the team's backup defensive tackle that typically plays the three-technique, remains out with an elbow injury, leaving two healthy defensive tackles.

According to Ian Rapoport, the Bengals "reached out" to former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, who is still recovering from an injury and wouldn't be an immediate contributor.

The Bengals are just the latest in a long-line of teams showing interest. Recently he visited with the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs but left without a contract. According to Rapoport, he also visited with the Miami Dolphins.

Ratliff underwent surgery for a sports hernia last December and is battling hamstring and abdomen problems that he suffered during training camp. Dallas, who signed Ratliff to a seven-year deal worth $49 million with $18 million guaranteed in 2011, released Ratliff from the reserve/PUP list after he failed his physical a couple of weeks ago. His agent, Mark Slough, told reporters on a conference call in mid-October, that he's not expecting his client to play this year.

However, a week later, Dr. William Myers in Philadelphia cleared Ratliff for football activities and thus began a tour to visit with the above mentioned teams.

There is a connection with Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who was in Dallas during Ratliff's first two years.

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