Since coming out of college and bursting onto the NFL scene in ‘05, Shawne Merriman has been one of the most feared and dominant defensive players in the league. Nicknamed “Lights Out” for his antics after a sack or making a big play, Merriman was able to stay healthy and make both the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams each of his first three seasons. Then one game into the start of the ’08 season, it was revealed that he would need major reconstructive knee surgery to repair torn knee ligaments and he would miss the entire season. Since the surgery, Merriman has not been the same type of player as it seems like he may have lost the speed and power that he once had. Less than one year after major knee surgery, he played through the entire ’09 season with a painful foot injury as well as his troubled knees and his production on the field was extremely diminished. Merriman finished the season with only thirty-six tackles and four sacks, a fraction of what he used to be, and to make things more difficult rumors spread that the Chargers were considering trading or releasing him.
Although Merriman has been a great player on the field, it has been his off-the-field behavior that has caused some concern for the Chargers. San Diego’s GM, A.J. Smith has a reputation around the NFL as a no-nonsense type of guy that likes to build his teams full of players with good character and moral values. So needless to say, Merriman’s antics off the field haven’t settled too well with Mr. Smith. His first year in the NFL, Merriman was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, but before the ’06 season it was revealed that he tested positive for “performance-enhancing” drugs and that he would have to serve a four-game suspension. Then prior to last season, he was arrested and charged with battery and false imprisonment after Tila Tequila claimed that he choked and restrained her when she tried to leave his home. Add those two events up in addition to the fact that Merriman hasn’t performed well on the field in almost two seasons, and that will show why the Chargers are contemplating his future with the team. Merriman has stayed away from Chargers Park so far this offseason in protest over his contract status. He has always wanted to play his whole career in San Diego and wants a long-term deal but the Chargers may not give it to him. So this offseason Merriman is healthy again for the first time in a couple of years and has spent countless hours in the gym working out and watching game film to get ready for the upcoming season. The questions remains, will he be back playing for the Chargers?
Shawne Merriman joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego to talk about what his offseason has been like for him, whether he has a date in mind when he expects to report to training camp, and him sounding like he wants to play for the Chargers.
Whether his offseason training still involves yoga:
“Yeah a few times a week I try to get in there and try to stay flexible while I am building all of this muscle and try to get ready for football.”
What his offseason has been like for him:
“I have been training a lot with Todd Durkin over at Fitness Quest lifting the tires and ropes and medicine balls and weights and footwork drills, everything you could say or match I have been doing it and it has helped out a lot. It if the first time since ’08 that I have had a full offseason of training. What I feel now compared to what I felt last year around this time is 180 degrees.”
Whether his acting debut in Entourage is coming up soon:
“Sunday is going to be my debut. I got a nice cameo on Entourage. We have been trying to get it done for a few years now but it has never really panned out, but we found a perfect episode and I was free and they wrote me in and they got me in. It was fun. I must say that I was on set for about 8 to 10 hours but it was a great time.”
Whether he has a date in mind when he expects to report to training camp:
“No, I am just going to be ready when the time comes. I am more excited about what is about to happen this season and I know that we had a lot of key departures in LT, Cromartie and Jamaal Williams and Osgood, we had some key guys to leave, but I still think that we have got a good group of core guys that can get it done because like I said, you don’t always need to have the biggest names in the world but you have to go win championships. Of course those guys are going to be missed in the locker room. You cat replace those type of guys in the locker room but you can only help to get people there that is going to take care of business and that is what we are trying to do this year.”
On him sounding like he wants to play for the Chargers:
“I am a San Diego Charger until I am told otherwise. The rest of the stuff is just talk to me and until I hear or get a call from someone saying you are not a San Diego Charger anymore, I am a San Diego Charger until I am done playing football. That is the way that I started when I came in and that is the way I am going to keep it until I go out. Until I am told otherwise I am going to continue to do what I am doing.”
Whether there was anything to look into about him changing agents:
“Absolutely I think it is best, in my defense, to make a great choice for business and for my career and that is what I thought that I did and I stuck by it and I still think that Tom Condon is a great agent and I think Dave is a hell of an agent. So you are working with two powerhouses that can get it done. The only thing that I am concerned about is getting here and doing it now, getting it done now so I can get my ass onto the field and play football because the rest of this stuff is just talk and it doesn’t mean anything to anybody and what is important to us is to win games. What is important to me is being a leader on this defense and have me there. To have me not there is not benefiting anybody so I am ready to get back onto the field.”
Tags: 2010 NFL season, been in trouble off the field recently, Chris Chambers, contract dispute with the Chargers, contract year for Vincent Jackson, full offseason of workouts, may be a holdout during training camp, NFL Football, Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, Shawne Merriman, Tila Tequila, training camp holdout, trying to get contract extension from Chargers