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Chargers' draft move motivates Merriman

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Merriman can see the light

    Wary at first, Chargers star now thinks English was a good choice

    By Nick Canepa
    Union-Tribune Columnist
    9:35 p.m. August 7, 2009

    If Shawne Merriman had some ducks, they would be in a row. The blue-Mohawked quarterback-eater may be an entrepreneur, he may have his hands in a dozen cookie jars, he may revel in the sparkle and lure of Tinseltown, and he may know the Chargers front office isn't enamored with his other pursuits. But he sees few holes when he looks in the mirror (which he probably does more than once a day). He is diamond-hard solid.

    Merriman knows who he is. He knows where he wants to eventually go and how he plans to get there – riding football, as an impact outside linebacker. Away from the violence, he's a calm man. He doesn't like to run his emotions amok.

    But he does admit that, this past April, when General Manager A.J. Smith used the team's first-round selection on Larry English, a pass-rushing linebacker out of Northern Illinois, the man who calls himself “Lights Out” blew a fuse.

    “I was (ticked) off,” he was saying Friday between training camp workouts. “I was shocked. Nobody saw it coming. Nobody saw an outside linebacker. But then I realized none of it was my concern. I have one thing to do – tear it up on the field. I started to think that he could only help us.”

    And now that Merriman has seen English work and has a chance to get to know him – their lockers are side-by-side – he enjoys having him around.

    “He's a guy who wants to get to the ball,” Merriman says. “I always look to that first. More than anything else, that's my No. 1 thing. He's nasty. I like to be around nasty guys; I feel comfortable. Around nice guys I feel out of place.

    “It's a business, but it's human not to like somebody coming in for your job.”

    English isn't going to beat out Merriman. But, as Smith so often says, you can't have too many good players. And English knows that, if he's going to master his craft, it won't hurt much being around someone with Merriman's tenacious gifts, watching his every move.

    “I'm a sponge, of course,” English says. “It's natural to just look around and see how the veterans are going about things and just trying to find my own, successful routine. I love Shawne's work ethic. You know the game is important to him. I have the same demeanor.

    “One of the most important things is to have that tenacity, but being in control while being mean. It comes with experience, staying composed, and at the same time having ferocity.”

    You don't have to be Enrico Fermi to determine English was drafted as insurance should Merriman, an unrestricted free agent following the season (that status could change, depending on whether NFL players sign a new collective bargaining agreement), not be around in 2010.

    The Chargers follow Merriman's every move – and that includes his frequent Twitter miles – and don't approve of his off-the-field ventures. English doesn't appear the Hollywood type.

    Merriman has people working for him, agents and marketers. He's not a one-man operation. Recovering from knee surgery that sidelined him for all but the season opener in 2008, he says he made nearly 90 percent of the team's involuntary offseason sessions. He works out on his own, and claims he has the Tweets to prove it.

    “It's insulting,” he says. “What I do with my free time. I do constructive things. This is a new day, man. Nobody's going to say that to Tom Cruise. We have the same marketing firm. But I don't do the legwork. I have a team.

    “A lot of guys can't do what I do because they don't have the balance. I have it in my mind. I'm a football player first. It's what I love to do. Twitter my people and you can see that. It's rude and disrespectful to say all I can do is play football. If that's a concern, I'm sorry. It's not a concern of mine.”

    So Merriman does a TV show for Fox Sports Net in his off time. The front office doesn't like it. Why? Is golfing better?

    “It's 45 minutes a week!” Merriman says. “Forty-five minutes a week!”

    I realize Smith doesn't share my views, but if Merriman continues to play at an All-Pro level, who cares? He's not John Dillinger.

    And it became beyond obvious last year. Without Merriman, all of 25, the defense wasn't nearly as good. Even Smith, in one of his rare non-John Wayne moments, admitted they missed Merriman. Because he makes people around him better. He must be accounted for. And last year those around him weren't better.

    “When I was gone, I initially felt the guys missed my stats,” Merriman says. “But I realized what I did rubbed off on everybody else. I riled up guys on the field and off the field, too. I'd never missed that much time, in any sport. Being away from the game, you notice what you do.

    “I'm the last guy to pout and shout about a contract. No need to cause a commotion. I bring light to a situation that looks kinda dark; that's my personality. I don't worry about what's going to happen. I feel comfortable; I feel I'm in a comfortable position. We have a great team. There's no better way for me to make my personal situation better than to go out and win games.”

    If English starts in 2010, it will probably mean Shawne Merriman's gone. And that would be stupid.
  2. RaiderRay

    RaiderRay RIP SD Chargers...Go Padres, Gulls, Ducks, Raiders Staff Member Administrator Podcaster

    Jun 20, 2005
    70 sacks. That what this D is going to produce this year.
  3. StratoBoltz

    StratoBoltz BoltTalker

    Jun 5, 2008
    This is good competition and will keep our D focussed on keeping their spot.:bolt:
  4. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    As long as Merriman's primary focus is his play on the field & his extracurricular pursuits don't endanger his health or tarnish the image of the Chargers or the NFL, then AJ needs to chill the f**k out.

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