<strong>August 2, 2005</strong>
Source: <a href="http://www.chargers.com/news/headline_detail.cfm?news_key=2217">Chargers.com</a>
Chargers first-round draft pick Shawne Merriman made talked with the San Diego media shortly after he signed with the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday, August 2, 2005.
(on the time he's spent in the Chargers' playbook)</strong>
The first time I came out right after the draft, I had a chance to watch some film and go over some things. I kind of saw what I needed to learn, more technique than anything. You're going to be behind. It is pro football, so you're going to be behind a little bit.
(on whether he sees himself as a defensive end or a linebacker)</strong>
I can play both. I think initially they may have me playing the Sam linebacker, the strong side linebacker spot. Eventually I could be playing some defensive end. You never know.
<strong>(on learning to play pass coverage)</strong>
I played a lot of pass coverage in college, but we had a lot of blitzes and things going on. The system that we had at Maryland is really not to far from what we have here, just a lot of different terminology. Also, you have guys that have been here for a long time. That's going to be a big difference.
<strong>(on his physical condition)</strong>
I'm in football shape, track shape, any kind of shape. I've been doing it all since I've been out. I've been trying to get myself back to playing football again.
(on his disappointment in not being able to participate in the Chargers' offseason program to this point)</strong>
I was disappointed that I was taken away from a game that I love, that I've played since I was a kid. I was upset that I wasn't able to get out on the field. It really hurt that I wasn't able to get out with my teammates and sweat and run around and get that chemistry together. I've had that since I was 11-years old. I'd never been away from football for so long, so that was tough.
<strong>(on the reason why his contract took some time to be resolved)</strong>
I don't think anyone is to blame. To be honest, like everyone says, it's a business. That's a business aspect of it, that it could get worked out soon or get worked out later. As long as it gets worked out like it has now and that I get the opportunity to play football again, that's what really matters.
<strong>(on how surprised he was that the Dallas Cowboys didn't draft him)</strong>
In my mind I was passed up by 11 teams, not just Dallas. It was a big known fact that Dallas was on me pretty hard, but I was really hoping that I could be a Charger. I came out here to visit. I met a lot of my teammates and the coaches, and I knew that this was where I wanted to be. Everything fell into place, and I ended up right where I wanted to be.
<strong>(on the impact Maryland Head Coach and former Chargers assistant Ralph Friedgen had on his career)</strong>
He's probably one of the most masterminded coaches that I've ever been around. Coach Friedgen gave me so much insight on how to be a better football player, both mentally and physically.
<strong>(on how much he hated not getting to practice with his teammates)</strong>
Any true football player that loves the game doesn't like to be away from it. That was the situation that I was in. I was just hoping that things would get better and today would get closer so that I could play football again. Everything fell into place, and it worked out on both sides. There was no question that I had to get it done and get out here.
<strong>(on the time that it took to get his contract taken care of)</strong>
All I knew was the history that the last few (Chargers) first rounders had. I knew that it could take some time after it didn't initially get done. How much time, I didn't know. I was just hoping that it would get done sooner rather than later.
(on his desire to get to camp as quickly as possible)</strong>
Outside of playing time, just getting to camp period. History has shown that I'm not one of the first guys who had a problem coming into camp. I was just happy to get here a lot earlier.
(on his feelings when he was drafted by the Chargers)
It's not often that you go that early in the draft and get to be a part of a winning program. That's something that happened, and the Man upstairs worked everything out perfectly. Not only did I go early in the draft, but I went to a team that actually did pretty well last year. It all fell into place, and this was right where I wanted to be.
<strong>(on his decision to switch agents following the draft)</strong>
You can look all the way back in history and it will show what can and can't be done. I had (the Postons) number two on my list. Everybody goes down their list when they're coming out of school. They group them down to the last couple of agents. If I hadn't gone with Gary Wichard, I would have initially gone with Carl and Kevin Poston.
(on if his friend Lavar Arrington, who is also represented by the Postons, had anything to do with his decision)</strong>
Not really. I've known Lavar since I was a senior in high school, and we never talked business. We wanted to keep things like that. He was more like my big brother, and he would never put me in a situation to mix friends and business. We never did that.
<strong>(on if he ever thought of coming out to San Diego before he was under contract)</strong>
Several times. I started to schedule a flight to come out here and just knock some heads around. I just wanted to get out here and play no matter what the situation was. You have to put it in perspective that this is your job, and no matter how much you love football and love to be around it, love to be around your teammates, this is your job, and if something goes wrong with your job and you're out of work, what are you going to do next? That was how I was looking at it as far as future terms.
(on what he expects from his first practice)</strong>
I'll be out there today. I've been learning a lot so far. I expect to go out there and keep learning on the field and studying in the film room. I'm trying to pick up as much as I can as fast as I can.
(on how long it will take him to pick up the defensive system)</strong>
I'm a pretty quick learner. I can't say two days or three days. I'm no stranger to the film room. If I have to bring a pillow and a blanket to sleep in there and learn the playbook, I'll have that in there with me. I'll make sure to get everything down pat.
(on how quickly linebackers coach Greg Manusky got to him)</strong>
That was one of the first faces that I saw, to tell you the truth. I came in and I saw a couple people. Right after that, I went right to my position coaches and said, â€˜Hey, let's get to work.' I brought me a little construction hat and told them to put me to work, get me on the field, and let me learn.
<strong>(on Chargers fans)</strong>
I love Charger fans and I hope that they still love me. It was a long process and sometimes people don't understand the strenuous process that you have to go through in order for me to get out there on the football field. Sometimes people might not know the real inside or the whole ordeal. They just want to see you out there. They just have to realize that this is your job and you have to take care of yourself and do everything the correct way because you only get to do it one time. I still think these are the best fans in the NFL. I would read the message boards (on the internet) once in a blue moon. The fans are active out there. They're my kind of fans, the kind I like being around. They're the fans that are going to support me when we're winning.
<strong>(on the group of veteran linebackers that he'll get to learn from)</strong>
I'm sure I'm going to get a little taunting and things like that, but once the rookie thing is out of the way, I think I can learn a lot from those guys that have been around for a number of years, especially a guy like (Steve) Foley who plays the opposite side of me. I can look at film and watch him the same way I watched Lavar Arrington and guys like that. Now I have a chance to play on a team with a guy that I can sit back and watch. I'm sure that will help.
<strong>(on the difference in getting hurt at home and getting hurt in San Diego)</strong>
I look at it as you can get hurt anywhere. You can get hurt walking off of a curb, you can get hurt doing anything, period. I just wanted to make sure that what I was doing in my profession, that if I got hurt within my profession, that I was going to be taken care of if something was to happen. That was really my only concern. Other than that, I had no problem coming out and working out. I just wanted to make sure that that part of it was worked out before I came out.