Friday, June 1, 2012

Merriman 'like Benjamin Button,' feeling like old self

Photo: Dirk Hansen, Flickr 


Veteran defender Shawne Merriman, who has played in just eight games the past two seasons and five since joining the Bills in 2010, feels young these days.

“I’m like Benjamin Button, man,” Merriman told reporters Thursday, according to ”I’m going backwards.”

Merriman, 28, is coming off Achilles surgery and was medically cleared earlier this week to be full-go in OTAs. He compared himself to Button, the short story/movie character who aged in reverse, because he says he's moving as efficiently as he was when he first entered the NFL.

“I feel very young,” he said. ”Anybody that will get a chance to watch me this year, I’m moving around as I did when I came into the league. Fortunately, that’s really all I had, the Achilles, over the last three years. Now that I’ve had that done, I’m a lot more confident.”

Merriman established himself as one of the elite linebackers in the NFL in the mid-2000s, having recorded 39.5 sacks as a Charger from 2005-2007. However, the injury-riddled defender has tallied only five quarterback-takedowns since.

Merriman will line up as a defensive end in the Bills' 4-3 system, something the eighth-year player insists he's comfortable with.

“I’ve played in the 4-3 and 3-4 and everywhere in between,” Merriman said, according to the Bills' website. ”I didn’t really look at is as a big deal when I had to put my hand in the dirt because last year, even when I was playing, we were 60 percent nickel which is basically with your hand in the dirt so I had to play D-end.”

At this point, Buffalo will be happy with any production at all from Merriman, who is part of an already-stout defensive front.

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