There's a reason why Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff is one of the best at his position: He stays hungry.
He's hoping the rest of his team follows his lead.
"The first thing I did was forget about last season," Ratliff said. "The Pro Bowl was a reward for last season. After that game was over, I put it behind me. I'm back to being a regular guy."
The goal, Ratliff said, is for everyone else to realize that they are regular guys. The fifth-year pro admitted that the abundance of egos and occasional petty behavior were disruptive traits that kept Dallas (9-7) out of the playoffs.
If the Cowboys are to live up to their potential, he said individual agendas have to be swept aside.
"We have seen the bad and the ugly," Ratliff said. "It's time for some good now. The way I look at it, we have too much talent to just be an average team or not making the playoffs. More than anything, we work too hard. We have to apply it on the field. We have to put egos aside and all the small stuff and whatever you did the year before, whether you have a small name or a big name, and put it aside.
"Let's just be a team more than anything. That's my goal. I'm going to go out and work hard to produce, but I'm not going to make it about me. We want everybody to be comfortable and approachable and to have a good relationship with each other. Once we get that, we'll be one of the best teams in the league."
Ratliff, who had 51 tackles and 7.5 sacks in 2008, said the majority of players are taking part in offseason workouts. He said they've bonded after the collapse of the indoor practice facility during a storm that paralyzed scouting assistant Rich Behm and fractured the spine of special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis.
Ratliff said he's also working with a private trainer twice weekly. It's the first time he's hired a workout guru, and he said he think he'll be better off because of it.
"The main thing is I've learned how to keep fat off and I've really benefitted, as far as my endurance," said Ratliff, who said he remains at his normal weight of 295.