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Shawne Merriman turns the lights out on his NFL career

Shawne Merriman AP

Shawne Merriman, who burst onto the scene eight years ago as one of the NFL’s most feared pass rushers but saw his status as an elite player fall apart just as quickly, has announced his retirement at the age of 28.

“After a lengthy discussion with my agent, family and team, I have officially decided to put in my retirement papers today,” Merriman wrote on his personal website. “My retirement from the game I love so much and from the game that has brought me so many opportunities on and off the field has been decided with great thought for my future on and off the field. I retire today not because I don’t feel I can go out there and still play the game at a very high level, I am retiring because I want to retire on my own terms and leave while I know I can still physically play the game.”

The Chargers took Merriman out of Maryland with the 12th overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, and he instantly became one of the league’s best 3-4 outside linebackers, recording 10 sacks as a rookie and being chosen to the Pro Bowl while winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Merriman was even better the next year, recording 17 sacks — and doing it in only 12 games because he was suspended four games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Merriman was good again in 2007, with 12.5 sacks, giving him a three-year total of 39.5 sacks, at the age of 23.

But then it all fell apart. Merriman played in just one game in 2008 before being lost for the season to a serious knee injury, and when he returned in 2009 he wasn’t the same player, recording just four sacks all season. In 2010 the Chargers cut him, and the Bills picked him up, but the injury-prone Merriman didn’t do much in Buffalo, recording a grand total of two sacks in his time with the Bills.

Merriman would have been a free agent this year, but he’s not going to bother seeing if any team is interested. It’s time to turn out the lights.

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66 Responses to “Shawne Merriman turns the lights out on his NFL career”
  1. enochmh2 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:31 PM

    Was never the same after the steroid shipments stopped

  2. poolboy87 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:32 PM

    Remember the incessant comparisons between him and DeMarcus Ware?

    Whoops.

  3. rr2000k says: Mar 5, 2013 6:32 PM

    Roids are a hell of a drug…

  4. 808raiderinparadise says: Mar 5, 2013 6:33 PM

    I remember when everyone thought this guy was the next Lawrence Taylor type of agressor.

    He flat-lined from roids and bunk kneee.

    On top of that he was a loser off the field.

  5. doe22us says: Mar 5, 2013 6:35 PM

    Roids and Tila T. are a career killer.

  6. cacsemo says: Mar 5, 2013 6:36 PM

    i remember his last game before the suspension…against my rams..the man basically turned the lights out on marc bulger and demolished us.

  7. jagsfan1 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:36 PM

    It’s gotta be tough to be at the top of your game and then have it all disappear…for what ever reason.

    You had a good run….better than the rest of us posting here…you actually kicked ass in the NFL for a few years…how many people can say that?

    Hope you saved a few bucks – and hope you figure out a way to bring some cash in….

    Good Luck. I was never a big fan – but good luck to you just the same.

  8. Grinds My Gear says: Mar 5, 2013 6:37 PM

    He was never the same since his suspension when he probably stopped juicing, then his body broke down as a result of roids from earlier in his career. Probably should put an asterisk on his first couple of years in the league.

  9. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Mar 5, 2013 6:38 PM

    You didn’t even mention roids? Are you kidding me? He should never be mentioned, especially his accomplishments, without mentioning he was a roid user. His entire “career” was seemingly nothing more than an artificially enhanced period. He’s the poster boy. Use Roids, short period of improvement then the body breaks down.

  10. madmohican99 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:39 PM

    He was never the same after Tila Tequila.

  11. demolition510 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:41 PM

    Roids. One helluva drug.

  12. seahawks80 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:42 PM

    Damn, I thought that bulb blew a longtime ago.

  13. keylimelight says: Mar 5, 2013 6:43 PM

    Good luck to you, Shawne.

  14. steelcity2201 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:43 PM

    Lights out…

  15. purplekoolaid1 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:43 PM

    I know all of the haters are here, but let’s give Jerry credit on this one. He clearly made the right choice by taking Ware over Merriman, and many others that people don’t want to admit.

  16. wte1 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:44 PM

    Of course Merriman can still play the game.

    If the game is “How to steal money from the Buffalo Bills.”

    Mario Williams is playing that game right now.

  17. ghostofnflpresent says: Mar 5, 2013 6:45 PM

    good luck to you brother!

  18. dmq13 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:46 PM

    I’m pretty sure that light bulb burned out when he had to stop the ‘roids.

  19. packerman1968 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:47 PM

    How can you retire, when nobody wants you?

  20. davikes says: Mar 5, 2013 6:47 PM

    “I retire today not because I don’t feel I can go out there and still play the game at a very high level…”

    LOL. He hasn’t played at a high level for 5 years.

  21. dmartsd says: Mar 5, 2013 6:51 PM

    Retiring at 28 must be nice.. Why wouldn’t you take some juice smart man.. He was lights out his first few years he was the man and Demarcus was chosen the pick before him he’s probably only got 1 more average year left in him anyways

  22. romoscollarbone says: Mar 5, 2013 6:53 PM

    The NFL must be such a grind for these guys to just walk away from 750,000 minimum contracts. All us peasants work out and lift for free. It just must be an incredible drain to be able to walk away from that.

  23. textaz03 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:53 PM

    Thank you Jerry Jones for drafting Ware over that guy!!!

  24. EJ says: Mar 5, 2013 6:56 PM

    Its a shame that it was the steroids doing the walking on the football field when he looked elite. When he couldn’t continue with the PED’s, he fell apart, literally. Another thing that plagued Merriman was the fact that his love for the game just wasn’t there anymore. He fell out of love with the sport years ago, you can see it in his play starting a few years ago. Playing for Buffalo, I was actually rooting for him to prove the steroid blamers wrong. I was hoping he could revive his career and become one of the best again, this time without the PED’s.

  25. thegame2love says: Mar 5, 2013 6:57 PM

    Really? We all turned off the lights a long long time ago.

  26. igglesrule says: Mar 5, 2013 6:59 PM

    …and absolutely no one cares.

  27. mrgroovesd says: Mar 5, 2013 7:03 PM

    Was a hell of a player before his knee and achilles injury. Hopefully you have some things lined up for the future and saved some of that money you made in the NFL. Hate to see you like some of these guys that wasted hundreds of millions and now have nothing to show for it.

  28. noring4youstill says: Mar 5, 2013 7:04 PM

    1 word sums up his career. Steroids.

  29. nzayir says: Mar 5, 2013 7:04 PM

    Jerry Jones actually making a good decision is something you don’t see every day (or every year, heck even every decade) but Merriman made Jerruh look good.

  30. nfl fan says: Mar 5, 2013 7:07 PM

    This doesn’t come as news, I thought he retired several years ago.

  31. bewaredware says: Mar 5, 2013 7:10 PM

    dmartsd says:

    Mar 5, 2013 6:51 PM

    Retiring at 28 must be nice.. Why wouldn’t you take some juice smart man.. He was lights out his first few years he was the man and Demarcus was chosen the pick before him he’s probably only got 1 more average year left in him anyways

    you dont watch football very much, i take it

  32. blackngold4life says: Mar 5, 2013 7:10 PM

    Wow ..done at 28?

  33. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Mar 5, 2013 7:10 PM

    If I’m not mistaken, he had 6 sacks at Oakland on a Monday night in September when he was a rookie or his second season. We found out later via a pee test why he was so effective

  34. thebadguyswon says: Mar 5, 2013 7:14 PM

    He turned out the lights several years ago.

  35. dowhatifeellike says: Mar 5, 2013 7:15 PM

    Is he really only 28? Judging by his play the last few years he should be 38.

  36. boogerhut says: Mar 5, 2013 7:17 PM

    Knee injury huh? Hear that Mr I want a billion dollars Revis? Knees aren’t a slam dunk repair. Ask D.F also if he thinks surgery is a gimme.

  37. dowhatifeellike says: Mar 5, 2013 7:18 PM

    Taking Ware over Merriman was not a “good decision” – it was lucky. Nobody knew he was a juicer on draft day. Jerruh lucked out that the guy he picked wasn’t the one with a secret penchant for needles.

  38. profootballwalk says: Mar 5, 2013 7:25 PM

    Ladanian Tomlinson just started crying again because the Patriots stole Merriman’s sack dance.

  39. gammynomnom says: Mar 5, 2013 7:28 PM

    Give Jones credit for ” missing out” on that hot garbage.

  40. gammynomnom says: Mar 5, 2013 7:32 PM

    37.
    dowhatifeellike says: Mar 5, 2013 7:18 PM

    Taking Ware over Merriman was not a “good decision” – it was lucky. Nobody knew he was a juicer on draft day. Jerruh lucked out that the guy he picked wasn’t the one with a secret penchant for needles.
    _________________________________

    Problem being with that claim is, had Jones picked merriman it would have been ” served Jones right because he knowingly took a player with no character”

    no way would it have been ” sadly Jones had no way of knowing”

    You guys don’t get to have it both ways.

  41. rg3andthensome says: Mar 5, 2013 7:39 PM

    BOUT TIME!

  42. goldenperspective says: Mar 5, 2013 7:39 PM

    Aldon Smith, Von Miller, this guys is a good example of what not to be.

  43. deddmunnie says: Mar 5, 2013 7:41 PM

    “Merriman has joined a concussion lawsuit” in 5, 4, 3, 2…..

  44. dannymac17 says: Mar 5, 2013 7:41 PM

    I still blame the Titans for the injury he suffered when they basically cheap shot him at the knee.

    There was proof. There was video. But nothing came of it.

  45. goldenperspective says: Mar 5, 2013 7:42 PM

    Jerry Jones actually making a good decision is something you don’t see every day (or every year, heck even every decade) but Merriman made Jerruh look good……..

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  46. bigbluwreckincrew83 says: Mar 5, 2013 7:47 PM

    Good riddance

  47. grantlee11 says: Mar 5, 2013 7:48 PM

    Actually MJD turned out the lights on Merrimans career a few years ago with the best block by a RB I’ve ever seen…

  48. pinion8ted says: Mar 5, 2013 7:49 PM

    I’m guessing his juice suplier retired, er, got arrested, before Merriman made this decision.

    Nothing worse than a guy who reaches superstar status with a little “help”.

  49. chief67 says: Mar 5, 2013 8:12 PM

    What , no more of that trade mark sack dance ! what a shame …

  50. 611jmp says: Mar 5, 2013 8:15 PM

    Trolls and haters, I have news for you. Merriman’s career was ended by a knee injury, not steroids. Maybe you never heard of this before, but guys who have never even heard of steroids blow out knees too.

  51. mazblast says: Mar 5, 2013 8:29 PM

    textaz03 says: Mar 5, 2013 6:53 PM

    Thank you Jerry Jones for drafting Ware over that guy!!!
    ——————————
    Don’t ascribe to wisdom that which can be properly attributed to luck. Even a blind squirrel gets an acorn once in a while.

  52. trojanwarrior007 says: Mar 5, 2013 8:35 PM

    this should serve as a warning to Green Bay before they back up the Brinks truck to Bloodline’s house.

  53. lurkerkerker says: Mar 5, 2013 9:09 PM

    Middle finger to Jeff Fisher and Kevin Mawae. Dude was a beast.

  54. favresweiner says: Mar 5, 2013 9:36 PM

    Favorite memory of Shawn Merriman: Getting flat backed by Maurice Jones Drew

  55. orivar says: Mar 5, 2013 9:37 PM

    Please steroids didn’t kill his career, they weren’t the reason why he was a physical monster though gave him a boost.

    Getting caught up in Hollywood, that’s what killed his career. Dude was living the fast life more than he was focusing on football, not that there is anything wrong with that as that’s his life. I’m not going to tell another man how to live but it seems that’s when he started to fade, that and the knee.

  56. mungman69 says: Mar 5, 2013 9:47 PM

    No roids, no knees, no job.

  57. rajbais says: Mar 5, 2013 10:49 PM

    I too would continue playing if I was paid money that I never deserved, but if Buddy Nix was more ethical with him he should have been done after 2010.

    He only had 4 sacks in 2009 and looked very replaceable in 2010.

    However I hope everything goes well for him down the road.

  58. accipiterq says: Mar 5, 2013 10:52 PM

    For all the people screaming about roids and how he cheated….you realize an overwhelming majority of guys in the league are juicing, right?

  59. billsfan1 says: Mar 5, 2013 11:03 PM

    Thank you Jerry Jones for drafting Ware over that guy!!!

    im actually more of a ware fan than a merriman fan but you’re right.. Its led to many more playoff victories… go post on a cowboys story… troll

  60. thefiesty1 says: Mar 5, 2013 11:40 PM

    Two year wonder! Then nothing to speak about. But then again, he was in Buffalo.

  61. canadianbucsfan says: Mar 5, 2013 11:57 PM

    I bet Merriman and A-Rod of the yankees would form a good friendship haha.

  62. pmars64 says: Mar 6, 2013 12:35 AM

    The depth of stupidity among fans is beyond belief. Do you really believe most NFL players don’t use steroids or some other drug these days? I’ll bet most of the players on your favorite team, probably your favorite player is using something. I’m old enough to have watched NFL football pre-steroids and, last I checked, players aren’t getting smaller and returning to those old days when offensive lineman averaged 250-260 at best and linebackers were 220. Didn’t center Mike Webster, the former Steeler great, play below 250 for his entire career?

    The absolute mean-spirit of so many fans is pathetic. A guy loses his career to injury and all many of you can do is to bust his balls. Stop dumping on someone else and take a look in the mirror at your sad, puny life.

    Get real.

  63. Dave H says: Mar 6, 2013 1:44 AM

    The cheap shot by two Titans, one of whom was Kevin Mawae, 20 yards away from the play, after the whistle, is what ended his career. He was never able to recover from that literally criminal cheap shot. It is hard to believe the vitriol that is so typical of these posts. Pitiful.

  64. nflofficeadmin says: Mar 6, 2013 8:53 AM

    Wow, tough crowd. Why all the hate for this guy when we have athletes breaking the science of human recovery every… the only thing that makes this guy different is he got caught. Peace, live your life.

  65. sdchargers85 says: Mar 6, 2013 11:49 PM

    Great career cut short my injuries… The brightest stars burn the brightest and burnout the quickest.

  66. raiderapologist says: Mar 7, 2013 1:38 PM

    dannymac17 says: Mar 5, 2013 7:41 PM

    I still blame the Titans for the injury he suffered when they basically cheap shot him at the knee.

    There was proof. There was video. But nothing came of it.
    ————-
    Sometimes, Charger fans sound like Raider fans. “Blame. Proof. Video. Nothing came of it.” Welcome to the club.

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