Shawne Merriman Still a No-Show at Camp: Wants Job Security, Not Money

Jay BrownContributor IAugust 3, 2010

DENVER - NOVEMBER 22:  Linebacker Shawne Merriman #56 of the San Diego Chargers looks on from the sidelines against the Denver Broncos during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 22, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 32-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Shawne Merriman is a busy man. Unfortunately for him it doesn't happen to be with his teammates at Chargers training camp. As of Tuesday morning's practice at Chargers Park, Merriman was still a no-show and some fans are beginning to wonder if the three-time All-Pro linebacker will ever show up.

Unlike his fellow teammate holdouts, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and offensive tackle Marcus McNeill, money has nothing to do with with his absence from training camp, but according to Merriman it has more to do with job security.

"It's not about me wanting more money, I will show what I deserve. I don’t have to ask for it. I feel like I've proved what I'm worth, and I will still prove it." Merriman said.

Merriman has still yet to sign the one-year tender worth $3.269 million the Chargers offered him. The Chargers have made it known getting a long-term deal done for him isn't a priority.

"To me, it really comes down to, 'Am I on the trading block this week? The third week of the season, am I on the block?' Where is that comfortability for me?"

He continued with, "I'm only coming back to be the guy on the defense. I'm not coming back to be a guy. I want to be on a team where someone is going to be building a defense around me."

I think it would be hard for a team to build a defense around a linebacker who's production over the last few years has been on a steady decline.

Shawne Merriman's Stats:

Year  Team                G-S     Tack.-Asst.    Total     Sacks-Yds.    TFL Tackles

2005  San Diego   15-10     41-13         54         10-61            17

2006  San Diego   12-12     46-20         66         17-93            22

2007  San Diego   15-15     63-33         96         12.5-81         22

2008  San Diego   1-1         1-3             4          0-0               1

2009  San Diego   14-14     34-12         46         4-25             5

Granted, he was coming off a couple injuries and had major reconstructive knee surgery that basically wiped out his entire 2008 season. However, he hasn't shown us the explosiveness that once made him one of the most feared defenders in the NFL.

However, the defense does play better when he is out on the field. He does have a dominant presence on the field and every opposing team that faces the Chargers defense has to prepare for him.

"Shawne still gets a lot attention—he still gets double-teamed," Chargers head coach Norv Turner said.

As Chargers fans we need him to bring back the old Shawne Merriman. Before he started hanging out with reality TV starlets, making appearances on HBO's Entourage, and partying at the Playboy Mansion.

He needs to bring back the "lights out" we all got amped and pumped for. His playmaking ability that earned him three trips to the Pro Bowl. Otherwise, this may be his last season in a Chargers uniform.

Chargers center Nick Hardwick offered this, "Shawne's a heck of a football player, and he's good for our team."

When Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith was asked about when he thinks Merriman will show up for camp his response was simple, straight-forward, and pretty much to the point,

“I’m done talking about Shawne, our season is underway. Our total focus will be on players that are here. This camp will go by fast, and the Chiefs game will be on us fast.” Smith said.

How about that for a no-nonsense diplomatic response.

"This is literally day to day how things progress, how things move," Merriman said. "I don't want this to be a distraction to my teammates. I don't want this to be a distraction to me. I just want to get something resolved soon and go from there. The bottom line is when I get back on the field I plan on doing what I do best, and that is playing."

Unfortunately for him, the longer he stays away from training camp the more it will end up hurting him in the end. It makes Merriman look selfish, putting his needs before his teammates.

Chargers head coach Norv Turner said it best, "Shawne has to get on with his career, and the only way to fix it is to go out and play."

I don't think I could have said it any better myself. Hopefully, we will see Shawne Merriman at training camp, in pads, and a Chargers uniform sooner than later.