Fittingly, like a bolt of lightning, Shawne Merriman’s career has come and gone in a flash.
The outside linebacker who burst onto the NFL scene with the Chargers in his first three seasons announced his retirement on Tuesday at the age of 28, ending his career far short of the Canton-bound trajectory with which it took off.
Merriman was the 2005 Rookie of the Year with 10 sacks, then finished with 17 in 2006 despite getting dinged four games by the NFL for steroid use. He kept pace with 12.5 sacks in ’07, celebrating each with his trademark “Lights Out” dance that either resembled someone having a seizure or getting electrocuted or dry-humping air.
The rest of his career was a testament to the dangers of dating Tila Tequila.
Merriman suffered a knee injury in 2008 and played only one game. His return to the field in 2009 was marred by charges that he choked his girlfriend, at-the-time celebrity for some reason Tequila. Prosecutors didn’t press charges, likely because choking Tila Tequila isn’t a crime, but things have never been the same for Merriman since.
He only had 4 sacks in ’09 before getting cut by the Chargers in 2010. Merriman tried to revive his career in Buffalo, but that ended up working out as well as most other sentences that included the phrase “revive his career in Buffalo.”
On his personal website Merriman stated “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.”
Like I always say: Whatever gets you to bed at night.