Shawne Merriman has been given what might be his final chance at an NFL revival by the Buffalo Bills, who signed the defensive end Monday.
Merriman had been released by the Bills this preseason after 1 1/2 ineffective seasons in Buffalo. He was playing with the third-string unit in preseason games and still barely making a mark, a far cry from the "Lights Out" days when he was a three-time Pro Bowler and NFL sacks leader with the San Diego Chargers.
But the Bills are in need on the defensive line. Mark Anderson's injury could keep him out two more months, and reserve end Spencer Johnson is still hampered by an ankle injury, leaving Buffalo with only three healthy ends.
"You can never have too many guys that we believe can rush the passer," coach Chan Gailey said. "With Mark being out and Spencer (Johnson), who was kind of our swing guy, being out, we can’t go into a game with just three defensive ends. So we signed Shawne back, and hopefully he gives us some pass rush off the edge."
Continued issues with his Achilles heel – he had another surgery this past off-season – and his inability to make a suspect defensive team in Buffalo likely led to Merriman's getting no interest from other teams so far this season. Regardless of the circumstances, he released a statement late Monday on the situation:
"First of all, words cannot express the joy I feel to be back with the Buffalo Bills. I feel extremely blessed to be back with this organization and my teammates. Fans in buffalo are very supportive – they have an unconditional love for the team. They expect a lot but they support us no matter what.
"Being out of football for these weeks has been tough.. It has seemed like forever… I look forward not only to doing something special for the organization, but I also want to do something special for this city. I especially want to thank the Bills organization and my teammates for the way they brought me back in with open arms. Today was truly a special day that I will never forget because of these special friends.
"During my time off, I spent some time in South Florida and also in San Diego. I trained every day hoping for the chance to contribute to the game I love. I didn’t expect to be so lucky to have the chance to come back to the Bills but I am very thankful. In addition to training, I spent time with my son and focused on giving to those less fortunate than myself. In San Diego, I spent time with various charitable organizations, one of which was the Alpha Project that I started working with when I was a rookie. They do great work fighting homelessness. I have assisted them with raising money and helping in other ways over the years. It was great to re-connect with them.
"I have been preparing for my annual coat drive at the University of Maryland. I also coached some high school kids to help them get a head start in football. I always enjoy working with up-and-coming young players to help them get to the next level."
Merriman will likely spell the starters until Johnson's return, after which time his future will depend on his performance to that point. He was at team meetings Monday.
The make roster space, the Bills released defensive tackle Jay Ross and offensive lineman David Snow. They'd been on the practice squad all season prior to being activated for Sunday's win at Arizona.
To make room on the roster for Merriman the Bills released DT Jay Ross. The club also released OL David Snow. Ross and Snow had previously been on Buffalo’s practice squad before being called up for last week’s game against Arizona.
With the other roster spot, the Bills brought back safety Delano Howell, who'd been released last week. He's been on the roster for four weeks this season, appearing in one game.
Also Monday, recently released running back Johnny White was signed by the Green Bay Packers. White appeared in one game for the Bills this season.
Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.