Everybody loves players that play hurt and succeed.
But this is not one of those times.
Shawne Merriman is one of the best defensive players on the San Diego Chargers and is the future as well as the present.
His current knee injury is pretty serious and to play with these injuries would be foolish. This is not a man risking it all to win the big playoff or championship game. This isn't Isiah Thomas scoring at will with a broken leg or Willis Reed coming out of the tunnel. Merriman plans to grind through the regular season and the postseason.
Throughout a grueling NFL season, Merriman could do damage to himself and put his career in jeopardy.
The San Diego Chargers are not an old team either. The door is not closing. Its future as a power in the AFC seems to be solid and they need Merriman at 100 percent.
Still, the Chargers don't need him to make the playoffs. The AFC West is weak enough that it's winnable without Merriman. The Chargers could advance in the playoffs until they reached the Patriots or Colts.
As the New York Giants proved last year, a dominant pass rush can stop any offense. To beat the Colts and Patriots, it's crucial that Merriman plays at 100 percent.
There is no reason that Merriman should play this season. In doing so he may risk the his NFL future and the future of the San Diego Chargers.