The days prior to the 2008 regular-season opener were dominated by discussion regarding whether Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman would be able to play due to a torn PCL.
This year, the question is whether Merriman will be able to play after allegedly assaulting a D-level television celebrity named Tila Tequila.
Merriman allegedly “choked and physically restrained” Tequila as she tried to leave his San Diego residence.
He was taken into custody at 3:45 a.m. local time and charged with battery and false imprisonment. Tequila was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
The timing for Merriman is horrendous. He has been talking routinely regarding a plan to have a huge season in 2009, in the hopes of silencing critics who say that his play dropped dramatically after his suspension for steroids. As he enters his contract year, Merriman could be facing discipline from the team and/or the league for the arrest.
That said, because he’s a first offender, there’s a chance that neither the league nor the team will act until the legal process plays itself out.
Stay tuned for more as developments emerge.