The Bills' official Twitter account broke the news early Monday morning:
Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) August 20, 2012
The veteran defender played five games for the Bills in 2011, recording just nine tackles and one sack. He was injured midseason and placed on IR because of a nagging Achilles tendon injury.
What It Means
The NFL's most dominant pass-rusher of 2006 is in search of a job after being released this summer. Merriman was a force in the league just a few seasons back, but now it seems his days as an elite defender are over.
Some fans forget that the former Maryland Terrapin recorded 17 sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception in 12 games during the 2006 season with the San Diego Chargers. Monday's news means that Merriman has gone from "Lights Out" to out of a job in less than five years.
Will Shawne Merriman play in at least one NFL game in 2012?
What Happens Next
Merriman's résumé is good enough to catch the eye of a team in desperate need of a veteran at defensive end or linebacker, but his track record over the past few seasons is troublesome. His injuries and declining play signal the end of a brief, but at times dominant NFL career.
At age 28, it's hard to say Merriman can't still play at a high level, but given the wear and tear on his body, it seems that we have seen his best football. Of course, injuries happen to every team during the course of an NFL season, and when they do, Merriman will get his fair share of chances to prove he belongs in the league.
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