To many, it appeared that Shawne Merriman’s decline in production seemed rather abrupt and perhaps final when the Buffalo Bills released him prior to the season. Merriman, however, says that’s not the case and he’s heard from teams courting him and is simply waiting for the right fit.
In Merriman’s eyes, the decline in production was a combination of an Achilles injury that should have been treated with a surgery earlier in his career and the Bills’ switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense that left him playing a position he’d never played before. Would you like to see your team pick him up and give him a shot or do you think it’s all a sales pitch?
Shawne Merriman joined 95.7 The Game in San Francisco with The Wheelhouse to discuss if he’s in playing shape, whether injuries are still playing a role in his game, how he’d fit in with the San Francisco 49ers, teams that have courted him and the NFL’s replacement refs.
Are you in shape and ready to go if someone gives you a call?:
“Oh yeah, I’m in shape and ready to go. That’s been, probably, one of the easiest things for me since getting let go by Buffalo, just staying in shape and getting ready for that call. They could come any day now. We’ve had a few calls over the past two and a half weeks and I’m just waiting for the right opportunity.”
You just didn’t seem like the same player in Buffalo. Are you completely over the injuries from back in the day?:
“Yeah, I think that most people are getting a misperception that I had a bunch of injuries. Really all it was was my Achilles over the last two and a half years. Nobody could really decide if I should get surgery or not. I had the surgery back in December for the first time and it changed everything for me. If I could go back and rewind and do some things, like get the surgery back then, it would be totally different now. But these are the cards I’ve been dealt with and I’ll be ready.”
How would you fit in in a scheme like San Francisco and do you think you’d fit in with those linebackers?:
“For one, they’ve got a bunch of great talent there already, a bunch of Pro Bowl guys to the left and right of that ball. So me fitting in would just be a perfect fit. And I’m accustomed to playing that defense already. … It was a little rough in Buffalo when they went to a 4-3 and tried to play me at that D-End spot. That’s the first time I’d ever done it. Me playing [in San Francisco], I’d just be right back at home.”
Have you spoken to the Colts? Or have you spoken to any teams at all about making a comeback?:
“Yeah, we’ve spoken to several teams, a few early on right after the release in Buffalo that were a 4-3. We just felt that wasn’t best-suited for me to go back in that defense and play defensive end again. We’re just waiting for the right opportunity to play in the 3-4 scheme that I’ve been playing my whole career.”
What has been your read on the replacement officials?:
“In the couple preseason games that I did play early on during the year, for one, you don’t want to put the game in the refs’ hands. You can’t go out there and say the refs won the game or lost the game. At the same time, I think there’s been some calls that have been missed that have been critical to teams winning or losing. … I don’t think there’s minor errors going on; I think there’s some huge errors. At the same time, these guys are just coming in and they’re not the main guys. That’s like if you’ve got a guy going and playing third backup. You don’t go out and expect him to play his best early on.”