Shawne Merriman: Buffalo Bills Release 'Lights Out'

Josh CembellinCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2012

July 26, 2012; Pittsford, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman (56) during training camp practice at St. John Fisher College.   Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-US PRESSWIRE

In a somewhat surprising move, the Buffalo Bills have reportedly released veteran defensive end/linebacker Shawne Merriman.

Jay Glazer broke the news on Twitter:

Bills have informed Shawne Merriman that they are releasing him today.

— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) August 20, 2012

For Merriman, this signals a disappointing turn to his roller-coaster career. The pass-rusher was reportedly fully healed after coming off of Achilles surgery, and he was expected to play a situational role in the Bills' newly revamped defensive line.

The 28-year-old must not have showed enough to the staff to separate himself from others in a deep positional unit. He'll now try to revamp his career elsewhere after failing to take advantage of the opportunity in Buffalo. 

For the Bills, this means they're likely to retain Spencer Johnson, Dwan Edwards and/or Kellen Heard to fill out the defensive line. Johnson and Edwards are both expensive this year, but they can still add valuable, proven depth. They're also far more durable than Merriman has proven to be over the past few seasons.

It's worth noting, too, that the Bills will save $4 million in base salary by releasing Merriman, per Rotoworld. Perhaps the team decided that money would be better spent on one or more of the aforementioned defensive linemen.

Buffalo's defensive line already boasts Mario Williams and Mark Anderson off the edge. And the interior looks equally strong with tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus.

Many felt this situation would allow Merriman to shine in 2012. However, the Bills didn't see enough, and now they're moving on without him.

And he'll have to move on without the Bills as he attempts to save his once promising career.