Originally written on XLJournal  |  Last updated 10/20/14
Shawne Merriman, 28, was arguably the most exciting player in the NFL to watch when he was in his prime with the Chargers. But in recent years, “Lights Out” hasn’t been very exciting. Yesterday, Merriman acknowledged this fact and announced that he would be turning the lights out on his career. San Diego drafted Merriman with the 12th overall pick in the 2005 draft. Merriman started off his career with three great years but then fell off. The linebacker’s best year in the league was in 2006 when in just 12 games he totaled 17 sacks, 1 interception, 4 forced fumbles, and 49 tackles. In 2007, Merriman had another good season when he totaled 12.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 54 tackles in 15 games. But after 2007, “Lights Out” didn’t really play at all. Over the last five years, Merriman has played in 32 games and totaled 6 sacks, zero forced fumbles, and only 55 tackles. Over his career, Merriman was selected to the Pro Bowl three times and was named the 2005 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Merriman saw time with the Bills as well and had a bounce back year in 2012 when he played in 10 games. But sadly for “Lights Out”, it wasn’t enough to re-start his career. “I retire today not because I don’t feel I can go out there and still play the game at a very high level,” Merriman said. ”I am retiring because I want to retire on my own terms and leave while I know I can still physically play the game.” The linebacker’s career hasn’t been clean. In 2006, Merriman was suspended for four games after testing positive for steroids. In 2009, the linebacker was arrested just before the season started after he was accused of battery and false imprisonment by reality TV star, Tila Tequila. But in the end, Merriman felt like it was the appropriate time to retire. Said Merriman: “I feel truly blessed to have been part of the NFL, and to have had the opportunity of a lifetime.” Follow me on twitter: @MrLauterbachXLJ  

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