Jeremiah Ratliff's release in 'best interest of our team,' Bears GM says

— -- CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears released veteran defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff and signed defensive lineman Ziggy Hood, the team announced Thursday.

"We felt moving forward without Jeremiah was in the best interest of our team," Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in a prepared statement. "We appreciate his contributions and wish him well."

Ratliff's tenure in Chicago unraveled on Wednesday. Ratliff, dressed in Bears warm-up clothes, and Pace were observed having an animated conversation in front of Halas Hall around 11:30 a.m. CT while the rest of the team was on the practice field. The exact nature of Ratliff and Pace's conversation is unknown, though sources told the Chicago Tribune that team officials judged that Ratliff arrived not in a condition to work. Two team security guards stood only a couple of feet away during the conversation.

Ratliff and Pace eventually reentered the building together, but Ratliff was later spotted walking up the driveway adjacent to the complex in non-team-issued gear.

A squad car from an area police department was seen patrolling the Halas Hall grounds at approximately 3 p.m.

The NFL suspended Ratliff for the first three games of the regular season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

The suspension stemmed from a 2013 incident in which Ratliff pleaded guilty to a DWI charge in Texas. Ratliff also missed the Bears' Week 4 game against the  Raiders because of an ankle injury he suffered in the preseason.

Ratliff is a four-time Pro Bowler (2008-11) who started a combined 102 games for the Bears and  Cowboys.

Hood opened the season on injured reserve with the Jacksonville Jaguars and was released Tuesday. He appeared in 96 games, with 46 starts, over six seasons in  Pittsburgh (2009-13) and Jacksonville (2014). He was selected No. 32 overall by the Steelers in the 2009 NFL draft.