Originally posted on Buffalo Wins  |  Last updated 7/24/12

The achilles tendon is the thickest/hardest tendon in the human body. Without it, we wouldn't be able to jump off the ground with the same peak. You mention the tendon to athletes and they squirm just a bit. When media or fans talk about it, it usually means bad news. Careers have never been the same once the 15 centimeters of mass has been ruptured. It is cancer for an athlete. Possibly curable? Yes. The same as before? Probably not.

We have heard all the cliches about this Bills' squad. Bunch of no-name guys who nobody wanted, just living their dream. The classic underdogs. The classic no-names. But sooner or later, the no-names become somebodies. They get the accolades and the endorsements roll in. Once they start getting paid, the underdog story just doesn't feel as shiny as it did before. Shawne Merriman is the role reversal of Fitz, Stevie, and Fred.

He was a star once...now the star is shooting down at about 3,000 feet above sea level.

A star who is probably on his last leg of TMZ fame. Merriman has always seemed to be a guy who never met a microphone he didn't like. There's nothing wrong with that as fame can be a pretty fun drug to be on. However, what happens when the drug wears off and people just don't care who you are anymore?

Merriman is at that juncture.

Merriman has played just 23 games since the start of 2008 and has just 5 sacks during that time because of his achilles problem. But it isn't his play over the last few years that I find to be interesting, it is just how he's kind of a fizzled star for the Bills. He's an afterthought instead of being THE thought. If you probably asked a non-Bills fan about Shawne Merriman, they'd think he was in SD or on a reality TV show or just fading into oblivion.

We all know Merriman loved fame when he was in San Diego. He cameoed on Entourage and was at pretty much every ESPN function. Now, I have this vision of Merriman not getting calls about making cameos anymore. He arrives at the nightclub at 11pm and instead of being able to skip the line, he has to wait while Screech Powers (Made movie moment) gets into the club.

Does he sit up at night while in bed, looking at his achilles, grabbing his muscle. Kind of a distant look on his face, gasping, wondering... Will it get back to normal? Hoping that it won't rupture. Hoping he can walk the red carpet or football field with the same all eyes on me mindset he had years ago.

If Merriman does anything this year, it will be a complete shock for me.

However, you can't say he has stopped trying.

Dude looks pretty jacked up for this season. When he talks, he seems like a man who is driven to get back to what he was, the star he knows he can be. But he also knows that this is it. No more Darryl Strawberry-like 2nd chances. You can't have an NFL career if you keep averaging five games a season. This is Merriman's comeback year (again). He is now the underdog just like Stevie and Fitz used to be. He knows what it is like to have people give up on him.

I'm skeptical about what he can do this year, but at least the guy doesn't have to look too hard to find someone in that locker room who knows what he's up against. Defying the odds is a norm in that locker room. Hopefully, it will rub off on #56. You can't doubt his training regiment or what he used to be, but will his strength for training match the strength of his achilles?

The lights are flickering until Opening Day...after that, they will be either on or off.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Community college hockey player leaves penalty box, attacks referee

Tampa Bay Lightning trade star goaltender Ben Bishop to the LA Kings in surprise deal

Divac makes bold promise after trading DeMarcus Cousins

Popovich praises Magic, wishes him well with Lakers

Report: Andrew Bogut likely to join Cavs after buyout

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Broncos expected to 'at least discuss' Romo

Report: Raiders don't expect to keep Latavius Murray

Report: Josh Hamilton needs another knee operation

Ball's father says comment about Lakers was misquoted

Revis hints he is open to taking significant pay cut

Several NBA executives have concerns about Lonzo Ball’s father

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker