San Diego Chargers watched Louis Vasquez, the second-year starting right guard, go out in Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks with bated breath, and many are still waiting to take that first breath of fresh air.
That injury was a lot to absorb. That, along with all the other things going wrong in the Chargers most recent loss, may have averted the attention of the viewing public away from another interesting injury, as Shawne Merriman was pulled out of the game and kept on the sidelines with an apparent calf injury.
While nothing is official just yet, it would be safe to assume that the gears have been set in motion to search for some sort of trade for Shawne Merriman.
Consider the following:
- Shawne Merriman tore both his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) at the end of the 2007 season. He neglected surgery until he played in the San Diego Chargers' first regular season game in 2008, after which he underwent season ending knee surgery.
- In 2009, Merriman was constantly plagued by injuries attributed to compensating for his knee injury. He missed two full games, and was limited in several others. He only produced four sacks.
- So far in 2010, Shawne Merriman has yet to play a full game. An Achilles injury kept him from the first two weeks of the season, and is now suffering the aforementioned calf injury
Merriman's injury history is troubling. If he is never on the field, it would seem like the San Diego Chargers are just wasting money.
Steroid Allegations and Suspension
At the beginning of the 2006 season, it was announced that Shawne Merriman would face a four-game suspension for testing positive for steroid use.
It has since been revealed that, up to and including that time, Merriman had tested clean on 19-of-20 occasions.
However, many are still convinced that Merriman was using at some point, and has subsequently lost a step now that he is clean.
Rampant injuries would indicate that steroids were a possibility, but it is still to be considered unconfirmed.
Consider this timeline, running from the 2006 season when Merriman served his four-game suspension for steroids to the present:
- 2006: 17.0 sacks, 62 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 7 passes defended, 12 games started
- 2007: 12.5 sacks, 68 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 4 passes defended, 15 games started
- 2008: 2 tackles, 1 game started
- 2009: 4.0 sacks, 36 tackles, 14 games started
- 2010: 4 tackles, 1 game started
Blame the injury, blame the steroids, or blame off-field problems, but in any case, it is clear that Shawne Merriman has lost a step.
Much like Vincent Jackson, Shawne Merriman has been long since replaced. The defense seems to be cranking without him, and he is ultimately just a salary burden at this point.
After this season, providing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is established, Merriman will become a free agent, and the likelihood of him being resigned by the Chargers is getting slimmer by the day.
So, it would seem that the Chargers would be wise to ship him off to a team that feels like they could use him, and get whatever compensation that they can for him.
Likely Landing Spots
- Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals are experiencing a rash of injuries to their linebacking corps, and what better stop gap is there than Shawne Merriman? Merriman would be easy to plug into their defensive scheme.
- Cleveland Browns: The Cleveland Browns have been so close to winning this season that they can taste it. However, beset by missing defensemen, the Browns have had a hard time closing games. Merriman could make a difference fast.
- New England Patriots: This one is a long-shot at best, but it is worth mentioning. The one thing keeping the New England Patriots from Super Bowl relevance is a good pass rush. Adding Merriman to their group of linebackers could make a good impact.
Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks, because Vincent Jackson might not be the only veteran leaving the San Diego Chargers before the Week 6 deadline.
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