At one time Shawne Merriman was one of the most feared defensive players in the NFL. He was the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl selection in 2005. He followed up that season with two more Pro Bowl years in 2006 and 2007. During those three seasons Merriman totaled 39.5 of his 45.5 career sacks, including a league-leading 17 in 2006.
Then the injury bug bit, repeatedly. Merriman played in just one game in 2008 before being placed on injured reserve with torn knee ligaments. In 2009 he played in fourteen games despite being bothered by a foot injury. In 2010 during his first workout after being acquired by the Buffalo Bills, Merriman suffered an Achilles injury that would result in him being placed on injured reserve yet again. In his second season with Buffalo Merriman played in just five games, followed by ten this past season.
NFL free agency gets underway next week and the former All-Pro would have been among the names available. Based on this message posted on his official website it doesn’t appear that will be the case.
After watching Merriman’s dominate from 2005-2007 you can’t help but wonder how many more accolades (and sacks) he would’ve racked up had it not been for the numerous ailments. But for those three years San Diego’s #56 was a menace to offensive coordinators across the league.
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