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'Lights Out' says he's ready for the electricity to be turned back on

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    After a frustrating season on the sideline, Shawne Merriman is set to return to the field when the Chargers open minicamp Friday.

    By Kevin Acee
    Thursday, April 30, 2009

    It seems like a win-win. The Chargers get their biggest impact player back, and he's ticked off.

    “This year is literally going to be about unleashing,” Shawne Merriman said. “Unleashing so much I've got pent up in me.”

    There has always been a lot going on inside Merriman. But now there is a storm boiling inside the 271 pounds of mohawked linebacker, whose 39½ sacks from 2005 to 2007 are the most by a player in his first three seasons. He is ready to burst after a season on the sideline and the ongoing indications that his time in San Diego is not long.

    “It's going to be an interesting year,” he said. “I'm bringing all the ruckus. I'm going to do the 'Lights Out' dance so often people will be glad to see me go – like, 'Get that dance out of here.' ”

    The goal, stated at the outset of a recent interview, was to talk about now, shift the focus from the glare of his seemingly inevitable departure at some point to the possible glory of what is at hand.

    And make no mistake, Merriman is consumed by today. But like the rest of us, he can't separate his present from his future.
    And, really, he doesn't want to.

    A rehabilitation to what he describes as full health following knee surgery has been driven by thoughts of his destiny. He returns to the field for drills with his teammates for the first time since that surgery in this weekend's minicamp.

    As he dined on steak at a downtown restaurant this week, where his table was reserved with a gold name plate engraved with “Lights Out,” Merriman was a ball of controlled rage.

    He consumed his food slowly. He alternately leaned in, leaned back, threw his hands in the air, pointed. He spoke quietly, befitting his environment, but forcefully.

    “I've been able to keep this attitude for six months,” he said. “I've carried this attitude around. I go about each and every day looking to maximize my potential. Everything that I've done this year has been more than I've ever done. Where I'm at right now mentally is I see where the max is and I take it a step further than that.”

    Always passionate, always verging on being over the top, Merriman now possesses a sincere urgency, a simmering anger, uncommon even for him.

    Some of that comes from having to watch the Chargers defense get pushed around at times while he was on crutches last season following major knee surgery in September.

    Much of it, however, comes from his incredulity (though he does seem resigned to the fate) that the Chargers will let him go, either when his contract expires after 2009 or after the 2010 season. There has been no official word from the Chargers, of course, but signs and intimations are that Merriman can look elsewhere for what may well be the richest contract in NFL history when that time comes.

    When he came into the NFL, it was the perceived slight of getting drafted 12th overall that gave him added incentive. The lingering talk of steroids after his 2006 positive test has driven him as well. Now it is his perception that he is not wanted.

    “I have more to prove than ever before,” he said. “ ... Damn, I have to do it again. Ever year I'm questioned like that.”

    Whether all that is real or trumped up in his mind is up for debate. But it's his reality.

    Merriman has a bulletin board on his bedroom door. On it are posted various articles that, in his mind, slight him in some way, somehow diminish his ability or passion or commitment.

    There is a word he uses, a unique word made up by a unique man.

    “My footballhood has been questioned,” he said. And there is no single word to describe the look on his face. It's incredulous, disgusted, furious.

    “That,” he continued, “is worse than questioning someone's manhood.”

    Merriman refers to the implication that he has too many outside interests and obligations. This offseason, he has shot at least one commercial, been in a music video and been photographed at various events in far-flung places. He is a fairly frequent companion to Donald Trump, owns part of a nightclub and in the season he missed was a weekly commentator on Fox Sports' midweek football show.
    But he vehemently disputes that has any effect on his preparation or execution.

    “I've done nothing but prove I will bust my (rear) harder than anyone else,” he said. “I've been the best teammate I could be. ... Football has been No. 1 in my life. All the other things are done because that's how I choose to spend my down time. I like those things. I love football.

    “Whether that rubs people the wrong way or makes them not like me, I can't change that. I don't see it as a problem. I'm doing everything that's asked of me and then some. Could it be a concern? Sure. I hope I'm not judged by it. I hope I'm judged by how I work Monday through Saturday and what I do on Sundays.”

    Might this skeptically be viewed as Merriman being a 24-year-old who thinks he has no limitations?

    Yes. But people shouldn't forget his 39½ sacks are tied for eighth-most in the NFL since 2005, and that includes his lost 2008 season.

    By Merriman's thinking, backed by statistics, his confidence is earned. And it is, by Merriman's admission, as necessary for him to wear as shoulder pads.

    Yet he sometimes seems distraught that there are questions about his desire, and he wants the haters silenced.

    “Why would you keep doubting me,” he asked, “when all I do is keep proving you wrong? ...

    “I'm the kind of person who thrives off negative, thrives off doubt, thrives off the impossible,” he added. “ ... I have so much built up, motivation and frustration, inside of me. For all that doubt, all that disrespect, I'm more eager to get back on the field than anybody has ever been to get on the field and play football.”

    Merriman willingly went places this week he said he won't go again.

    “The question of whether I will be here (after 2009 or '10), I hope it never comes again after this,” he said. “I've got a five-year deal. The only thing I can control is how I go out and play.”

    So the now is his focus, but he can't help but make the future his fire.

    “After (2009 or '10) is not any of my concern right now,” he said. “If the rumor going around presents itself to be, I'm going to go out with a hell of a bang. I'm going to try to be part of something that has never happened here in San Diego.”
  2. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006


    Shawne Merriman on other topics:

    On whether he should have had surgery in early 2008. He said three doctors, including team physician David Chao, recommended he get surgery then. But all those doctors, Merriman said, also pointed to how he'd played in six games at a relatively high level after his injury in 2007 and did not have swelling, and they left it up to him. Doctors told him he would not return to the field for nine months and might not be 100 percent:
    “If I knew then what I know now, that I could play at a high level after seven months, I would have gone ahead with it.”

    • • •
    On the drafting of outside linebacker Larry English in the first round, and what he initially read into the selection:
    “At first I'm thinking, 'What the hell?' I'm thinking, 'Damn, can I do anything else as a player?' Then I calmed down. I'm hoping he can come in and provide us some help. I can't wait for him to get here. I'm going to do for him what I've done for Jyles Tucker, Antwan Appelwhite. I'll take him under my wing, and we'll work. I don't feel like they drafted a replacement for me. Let's be real for a second. But I'm hoping he can come in and tear it up so I can look at him and go, 'I've got another dog next to me.' ”

    • • •
    On the Chargers defense falling to 24th in yards allowed and 28th in sacks per pass play in 2008, and the fact he takes some of the responsibility:
    “I do, because if someone is talking about the San Diego Chargers defense they're talking about Shawne Merriman being a part of it. It's OK to point the finger at me.”

    • • •
    On his on-field and off-field persona, which he knows isn't universally loved:
    “I'm not dumb. I know what people like or might not like about me. The 'Lights Out' dance might rub people the wrong way. Doing the shows, being Hollywood, might rub people the wrong way. But can't people see all the extra I do and the right way I go about things, all the work I've put in and what I've done on the field?”

    • • •
    On his intent to be the greatest linebacker ever:
    “It's not everyone's destiny to be the greatest. It isn't everyone's intention. I don't want to talk about how I want to be the greatest. My thing is watch me, watch what I've done and what I'm going to do.”

  3. iamhairycamel

    iamhairycamel BoltTalker

    Sep 7, 2008
    How can anyone NOT love this guy? Pure passion.
  4. MONDO.

    MONDO. Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2007
    I worked for a print company in carlsbad that printed for the chargers; one event being Merriman's; I had a chance to meet this guy he is freaking huge and intense I knew within 5 mins of talking to him that he is an absolute professional and no matter what he does off the field he is going to end up one of the best of all time on the field. I have no doubt that he will be back and teams will once again fear our D (in thier A lol couldn't resist)
  5. clontarf_bolt

    clontarf_bolt Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    my god that guy is going to tear it up this year, the passion and intensity that you get just from reading what he says is unreal!

    I cant believe this year might be his last, pay the man and keep the heart of our D here for many years to come!!! :bolt:
  6. Alpenbolt

    Alpenbolt BoltTalker

    Sep 9, 2006
    Love the guy. But his tats are pretty weak you gotta admit.
  7. ChargerJeff

    ChargerJeff Boltaholic

    Mar 24, 2008
    My wife follows him on twitter and a couple days ago he was finishing up a whole sleeve - so no worries - even his tats have gone through rehab.. :D
  8. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

    Jul 27, 2007
    You just gave him one MORE thing to be pissed out! :lol:
  9. AnteaterRaider

    AnteaterRaider Carpe Diem et omni Mundio Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

    Jan 19, 2006
    In the words of Mickey from the Rocky movies

  10. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

    Aug 14, 2008
    All I have to say is, HELL YEAH! Go Get 'em!
  11. Kwak

    Kwak ....

    May 25, 2006
    I hope they find a way to keep him around. He is going to be on a mission to prove a lot of people wrong.

    I wish Cutler was still in Denver, but then maybe with Merriman coming back it was another reason for Culter to puss out :frightened: and want to get out of the division..

    There is also the little tidbit that if there is no CBA in 2010, Merriman is a RFA not a UFA. You need 6 yrs in the league to be a FA in 2010.

    The highest tender you can give a RFA is a 1 & 3, but they could also use the franchise tag.

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