A Buffalo Bill’s defense that is currently ranked in the bottom three in both passing and rushing defense could ill-afford to lose any bodies, and it lost a big one for the rest of the season on Tuesday as the team announced that Shawne Merriman will be out for the rest of 2011. The news leaves an already thin and vulnerable defense with even more questions left to be answered.
Merriman was claimed by the Bills during last season after being cut by the San Diego Chargers despite being injured at the time. After a promising start to the preseason in which he recorded a two sack game, things went downhill. He started five games in Buffalo recording only 7 tackles and only one sack with the club. A nagging Achilles injury has seemingly slowed him down this season has finally landed him on the IR.
In his prime Merriman was an unstoppable force before being suspended by the league in 2006 for testing positive for steriods. In a three year stretch 2005-2007, he recorded 39.5 sacks before injuries derailed his career. From 2008, Shawne only played in twenty three of his teams’ games and saw his production take a huge hit. To complicate things even worse, he was arrested after allegedly choking his girlfriend at the time, reality TV star Tila Tequila. The combination of his decline and his off the field troubles soured his relationship in San Diego. In Buffalo, he had seemingly rebuilt his image and was working hard to prove to the league that he still could be an effective defensive player.
Merriman and his famous “lights out” dance are still under contract for next season, but at the moment that has to be in serious jeopardy. There just is not much room in the NFL for an injury plagued pass rusher who can no longer get to the quarterback. Unfortunately, it appears to be lights out for one of the game’s most notable players of the last decade.