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SI Article on Merriman's Critics - Shut Up

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    By former pro Ross Tucker

    It's his life

    I am sick and tired of reading and hearing all of the media pundits and fans denigrating Shawne Merriman for his decision to play football in 2008 despite reportedly having PCL and LCL tears in his knee. I wonder if some of these folks are the same ones who were criticizing LaDainian Tomlinson and questioning his toughness when he could not play in the AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots last season.

    Tomlinson is beyond reproach in my book and his toughness and productivity the past seven years speak for themselves. But I digress. The reason I am so angered by the overwhelmingly negative response is very simple: It is Merriman's life and ultimately his decision and he can do with it what he wants.

    I highly doubt I would be making the same decision if I were in Merriman's shoes. Though I don't exactly know his personal health situation, if the reports are accurate, he is risking both the rest of his career as well as his long-term personal health by playing with torn ligaments in his knee. It could greatly impact his next contract, a contract that would potentially be record-breaking if Merriman returns in 2009 and puts out the type of performance we have come to expect from him.

    But that is not the point. How I feel or anyone else feels doesn't matter. That is because it is a personal decision.

    Merriman is not some undrafted free agent from Podunk State who is just taking the team doctor's word for it and playing on a bum knee. In fact, if you include the Chargers team orthopedic, Merriman met with five different doctors before coming to this conclusion. He is making this decision with his eyes wide open. He understands the potentially adverse consequences and is willing to live with them should it get to that point. He understands he will have to get surgery at some point. He's just not ready for that now, on the cusp of a season opener for a football team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.

    The reality of the game is player's play -- and play well -- through injuries all the time. That is just part of being a professional football player. Again, would I begin a season or try to make it through an entire year with an injury like Merriman's? Probably not, but I did play the last month of a season with a herniated disc in my back that was tremendously painful. It required surgery at multiple disc levels following the last game.

    Stuff like that happens all the time in the NFL, more than the casual fan would ever know. Did you ever notice how many players have off-season surgery?

    News flash: That means they played with injuries that required surgery, but they delayed that surgery until after the season. The difference in Merriman's situation is the regular season has not even begun yet and his injury has become very public.

    And therein lies the real problem. It is not a public decision. It's a personal one.

    One more note on Merriman. There is some speculation opponents will intentionally try to go after Merriman's knee to do him harm. I highly doubt that. I have never seen a player intentionally try to injure another player. The game is so fast it is nearly impossible for someone to have the wherewithal to consciously make that decision and then carry it out.

    That being said, Merriman is well aware this is the National Football League and it is a serious business played by men who are providing a living for their families. He knows all too well he will be shown no favor, no mercy, when he steps inside those white lines. And that as much as anything is what probably made his personal decision such a difficult one.
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Hear, hear!! Good article. The one thing that I might take issue with is the comment about not intentionally going after an injured player. It may be verboten to speak of it outside of the inner circle, but we've all seen it happen.

    I wish Shawne the best this year. He's one tough SOB, that's for certain.
  3. Osmekaman

    Osmekaman BoltTalker

    Jul 1, 2008
    Fair play to you Roscoe.
    Balanced and non-judgemental from a guy who's been in the trenches.
    Whether right or wrong, its SM's call.

  4. tboltzcali

    tboltzcali Well-Known Member

    Sep 14, 2005
    Isnt that how he got hurt last year?????
  5. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    Merriman has a target on his back, especially if he is effective early on. His vulnerability will make him a tempting target because any attempt to put him out won't have to be obvious. Human nature. The nature of all predators and football is a predatory environment. I suppose, if he wants to risk my problems, it is his decision.

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