Friday, April 25, 2014 1:03 AM
Published on: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
By Brandy L. Simms
One of the National Football League’s most exciting defensive players has called it quits.
Shawne Merriman, a Prince George’s County native, last month announced he was retiring from the league after nearly a decade playing professional football.
“My retirement from the game I love so much and from the game that has brought me so many opportunities on and off the field has been decided with great thought for my future on and off of the field,” Merriman wrote on his official website.
During his eight-year stint in the league, Merriman played with both the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills. He was also a three-time Pro Bowl selection and earned All-Pro honors three times during his career.
During a standout high school career at Frederick Douglass in Upper Marlboro, Merriman earned the nickname, “Lights Out,” for his ferocious play on the field.
He carried that style of play over to the University of Maryland where he emerged as one of the top defensive linemen in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Merriman was selected by San Diego in the first round with the 12th overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. He registered ten sacks during his rookie campaign while earning Pro Bowl and Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. The following season he led the NFL in sacks. He was released by the Chargers in 2010 and picked up by the Bills the next day.
He also battled injuries including knee problems that led to his early retirement.
Merriman said he wanted to retire on his “own terms” and knows he can still “physically play the game.”
“I am stepping back to pursue other great opportunities that have been afforded to me,” he wrote. “I want to thank all of my fans around the country. I want to thank the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills for their support during my time at each club. I feel truly blessed to have been part of the NFL and to have had the opportunity of a lifetime.”