On Monday morning the majority of the Buffalo Bills fans finally got their wish, as the team parted ways with their albatross of a linebacker, Shawne Merriman. The Bills brought him in before the 2011 season to be an intimidating presence on the outside, but instead they received the shell of an aging linebacker. Merriman was simply NEVER on the field for Buffalo, as the three-time Pro Bowler played in an embarrassing 5 games in his first year in Buffalo.
Merriman’s injury problems have plagued him since his suspension for using Performance Enhancing Drugs in 2006. He missed 13 games with the San Diego Chargers in 2010, and in his first year with the Bills, he missed 11 games with an Achilles tendon injury. Even when Merriman was supposedly playing in 2011, he was a complete non-factor. He recorded a mere 9 tackles and 1 sack all year and ended up being the team’s Achillies Tendon on defense.
The move obviously happened because youngster Arthur Moats and veteran Kirk Morrison have outplayed Merriman all off-season, not to mention the fact that the Bills’ defense is transitioning back to a 4-3 scheme. The team unsuccessfully tried to move Merriman over to defensive end to keep him on the roster, but the aging linebacker was unable to make the move smoothly, so they were forced to let him go.
Buffalo is better off going young, and being frugal moving forward; especially considering the $200 million dollars they spent on their defense this summer. This move also came after the team cut veteran cornerback Drayton Florence, so the writing may be on the wall for aging cornerback, Terrence McGee.
There could be a couple desperate defenses willing to take a shot on the veteran linebacker, but considering Merriman’s age and past substance abuse problems; it seems unlikely. He was an unstoppable pass-rusher in the early part of his career, but his early success will always be associated with his failed drug test and constant injury problems. This will most likely be the last people will see of Merriman, that is, until he gets his reality television show this fall on VH1.