Shawne Merriman had 39.5 sacks in his first three NFL seasons, but has had just five sacks in four seasons since then. That leaves many observers to conclude that Merriman is done as an effective NFL starter.
But Bills coach Chan Gailey has observed Merriman up close and says he looks as good as ever.
“He works hard. He looks quick. He looks healthy,” Gailey told the Buffalo News. “That part of it has been refreshing for us, to see some what of I think we’re going to see is the old Shawne Merriman this year.”
Merriman just turned 28, so he would still seem to have time to return to his previous form. But knee and Achilles injuries have caused Merriman to miss 35 games over the last four seasons. And when he has played, he hasn’t looked much like the three-time All-Pro who played for the Chargers from 2005 to 2007. Merriman admits he has some rust to shake off.
“I feel very good,” Merriman said. “I’m still working out just little things. I’ve not been playing football for a long time and just getting back comfortable with the game. That’s one of my biggest keys, getting comfortable, especially playing a different position as well. I feel pretty good up to this point.”
Bills fans will feel a lot better than “pretty good” if Gailey is right that the old Shawne Merriman is back.