If you are like me and have fond memories of Shawne Merriman in a San Diego Chargers uniform, this story will likely make you feel a bit ill. The man known fondly as “Lights Out” was treated for an overdose on Sunday night in California at a nightclub known as The Colony from which he was transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and later released.
While he was recovered enough to have tweeted shortly after the incident —
— this is still a disconcerting development for a player once suspended due to a positive steroids test back in 2006. He would blame the failed test on a dietary supplement, but that incident really began the decline of his career.
Although Merriman attributes the overdose diagnosis to dehydration in his tweets, the LA Times says that sources told them the former Pro Bowl linebacker ingested an unspecified concoction of alcohol and drugs. His nightlife really became the bigger story than his on-field play following the positive steroid test in 2006 as his skills seemed to erode right in front of our very eyes with a torn PCL and LCL in training camp prior to the 2008 season.
Obviously the incident involving Tila Tequila leading up to the 2009 campaign where the reality TV star accused Merriman of choking her was a big TMZ style incident in the linebacker’s career. The altercation occurred at 3:45 AM and involved a significant amount of alcohol (which goes without saying), and nothing ever became of it.
Still, if you are like me and remember the days of the rookie out of Maryland coming into the organization, these stains on his resume are hard to ignore. The Bolts would release Merriman midseason in 2010 where he would sign on with the Buffalo Bills after that. Nothing will compare to his first three years in the NFL, however, where the linebacker terrorized quarterbacks around the league with 39.5 sacks during that three-year span.
This most recent incident is both sad and worrisome given the trouble that Charger alums have experienced over the past year or so with the suicide of Junior Seau and the untimely death of Chuck Muncie. Here’s to hoping Merriman gets things straightened out in his personal life and has many healthy year ahead of him.