The sad, sad story of Shawne Merriman

There was once a time when Shawne Merriman was the most feared linebacker in the NFL. That period, however brief, has long since faded.

The Chargers placed Merriman on IR today, effectively ending his career in San Diego. Policy mandates his release upon returning to health, terminating his contract.

He could technically be re-signed in the off-season, but after numerous injuries and transgressions, A.J. Smith’s seen just about enough of the player once nicknamed “Lights Out.”

In his first three seasons, Merriman recorded 39 1/2 sacks – including 17 in a suspension-shortened 12 game season in 2006.

Then came the injuries.

In 2008, he underwent reconstructive knee surgery, missing the entire season. The following year, he was banged up with more knee and foot problems and recorded just four sacks. This season, he re-injured his calf and is now done.

It doesn’t help that he’s been mouthy about the Chargers front office, and he was arrested after domestic violence charges were levied against him by his then-girlfriend, ex-Myspace hottie Tila Tequila.

He’s a troubled man with an injured body and soul. He’ll get another shot, as all men with his freakish tier of talent do. But he won’t be the same player he was when he was young and wild, playing with the same reckless abandon as the way he’s lived his life so far.

San Diego to release Shawne Merriman if he gets healthy [ESPN]

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