(CBS) Bears coach John Fox has defended the team’s handling of an incident with Jeremiah Ratliff last week in which the defensive lineman exploded in a heated confrontation and said “I am the devil” and that he “felt like killing everyone in the building.”
Lake Forest police responded to an incident on Oct. 21 at Halas Hall after the team’s director of security requested assistance after Ratliff showed up to work in a state of impairment and a fit of rage. Ratliff was asked to leave but returned several times, making the threats in the process.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Second Sunday Night Tornado Confirmed; Cool And Clear Monday Night
The threat was called “credible” by the Bears and a staffer warned that Ratliff may own several firearms, a police report released Friday morning said. However, media members weren’t notified that day, and many Bears players have expressed little understanding of the matter at hand because they weren’t filled in on what happened with the incident.
For nine days, the Lake Forest Police Department stayed mum, until it released the police report Friday.
The incident occurred in front of Halas Hall as the Bears were practicing on Oct. 21. Ratliff was released a day later.
On Friday after practice, Fox defended the team’s handling of the situation when asked why the Bears weren’t more transparent — to everybody — about a player making death threats at the team facility. He had previously scoffed at the media viewing the situation as “abnormal.”
“It’s a personal matter,” Fox said. “I don’t think those need to be public.”
“We were concerned for the building, and that’s why the police were called.”
Asked again why the Bears didn’t tell the media and all individuals in and around the building about the threat, Fox had a short answer.
“I believe that’s why the police were here,” Fox said. “That’s kind of an alert, based in my book.”READ MORE: LIVE UPDATES: 130 Homes Damaged In Tornado In West, Southwest Suburbs As Dangerous Storms Hit Chicago Area Sunday Night
Fox confirmed that the decision to release Ratliff wasn’t made until after the incident. When the Bears released Ratliff, they termed it much like the exit of any other player, with general manager Ryan Pace saying it was “in the best interest of our team.”
Stunningly, the Bears don’t know where Ratliff’s residence is, as the police report said he “refused to provide that information to staff for their records.”
Asked what it was that had Ratliff so angry then, Fox said he didn’t know.
“You’d have to ask him,” Fox said. “I don’t know what goes on in everybody’s mind.
“Again, I’m a football coach. I’m not a psychologist. I don’t do all that. We evaluated the situation, and we did what was best for our football team.”
A four-time Pro Bowl nose tackle, the 34-year-old Ratliff had dealt with nagging injuries throughout the 2015 season. He also missed the first three games of the season because of a suspension stemming from a DWI arrest in 2013.
Prior to Oct. 21, Fox said the Bears hadn’t had behavioral issues with Ratliff during his time in Chicago. Fox was hired last January.
However, Ratliff did take two swings at center Will Montgomery in a training camp scuffle, which Fox downplayed.MORE NEWS: Assessing The Damage: Tornado That Ripped Through DuPage County Classified As EF-3
“No more of a red flag than any scuffles or things that happen,” Fox said. “It’s a combative game played by combative people.”