According to Kevin Acee, Shawne Merriman will report to camp sooner rather than later.
I, for one, have put Merriman out of my mind within the context of the team. This means that, when I envision the Chargers running roughshod over the Raiders, Larry English is leading the charge, not Merriman.
However, Merriman is still my favorite NFL player and I will be happy if he returns to the team, because they are definitely better with him.
Merriman gets a lot of attention, whether in Hollywood or in an offensive coordinator's film session. When he is healthy, Merriman is the type of player who forces the offense to the other side of the field. If his legs are feeling good, he can still make the play anyway.
He's an intimidator. I can already hear the “Shawne Merriman's nothing without the juice” argument, but I remember Peyton Manning's hop pass off of one foot that fell harmlessly to the ground in the 2007 NFL Playoffs...and Merriman forced that errant pass while playing on one leg! No juice.
Not many guys can make a 350-pound behemoth jumpy. Not many guys can inspire or deflate an entire offense like Merriman can. Teams feel like they caught a break when Merriman misses a game. Brady Quinn suddenly becomes Tom Brady on a bad Browns team, because his confidence level artificially shoots through the roof when he knows there is no Merriman to light him up.
Larry English may have to fill that void, and soon.
Merriman, when he is on the field, is an inspiration to his teammates and to the fans in the stands. However, according to Kevin Acee, he is not in the team's longterm plans. So enjoy him while you can.
Of course, if he racks up 16 sacks, I don't care what Acee says—Merriman's not going anywhere.
By the way, am I the only person who thinks that Shawne Merriman is the long lost son of '80s rap star Heavy D?