Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lights Out: Shawne Merriman announces retirement


Shawne Merriman, the former elite pass rusher turned oft-injured backup, decided to hang up his cleats after spending the last three years with the Buffalo Bills.

The 28-year old announced his retirement on his official website. (photo: Dirk Hansen, Flickr)

“After a lengthy discussion with my agent, family and team, I have officially decided to put my retirement papers in today," Merriman wrote. "My retirement from the game I love so much and from the game that has brought me so many opportunities on and off the field has been decided with great thought for my future on and off the field.

"I retire today not because I don't feel I can still go out there and play the game at a very high level, I am retiring because I want to retire on my own terms and leave while I know I can still physically play the game."

Merriman recorded 39.5 sacks in his first three seasons with the San Diego Chargers, which included a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, but a rough stretch of injuries saw him tally just six sacks over the last five years of his career. He had just two quarterback takedowns during his stint in Buffalo.

The veteran linebacker was an impending free agent and would've had an uphill battle to lock up a roster spot somewhere.

“I am stepping back to pursue other great opportunities that have been afforded me. I want to thank all of my fans around the country. I want to thank the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills for their support during my time at each club. I feel truly blessed to have been part of the NFL and to have had the opportunity of a lifetime. I am excited to pursue my other career opportunities and look forward to what is on the horizon for me. I will continue to train with some of the guys not because of football but it's a part of my Lifestyle.”

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