Shawne Merriman

He was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft out of the University of Maryland, College Park. Merriman was one of the pieces of the infamous Rivers-Manning trade as the New York Giants traded their 1st round selection to the Chargers in the 2005 NFL Draft along with others and Philip Rivers in 2004 for the rights to Eli Manning selected by the Chargers with the 1st overall pick that year.

The Giants pick in 2005 ended up being the 12th overall pick which the Chargers used to select Shawne Merriman out of the University of Maryland,  College Park.

Merriman started off his 2005 rookie year on the inactive list and completed 10 day hold out from training camp. He did not break the starting lineup until week 7, but recorded 6 sacks in his first 4 starts. He was voted into the Pro Bowl as an OLB after playing the position for the San Diego Chargers in their 3-4 defensive scheme which is the same position he played at the University of Maryland.
Merriman's best game of the year came in week 15 when the Chargers handed the Indianapolis Colts their first loss of the season. Merriman recorded 2 sacks and 2 tackles for a loss, one of which stopped Peyton Manning for a 6 yard loss on 4th and goal. It was during this game that Shawne Merriman garnered much national media coverage and in the following week made the Pro Bowl.
On January 4, 2006, Merriman was awarded with the The Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He received 28 1/2 votes of a panel of 50 NFL sportswriters and broadcasters. He beat the likes of Seattle Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who received 16 1/2 votes , Cincinnati linebacker Odell Thurman, with 4, and Dallas linebacker Demarcus Ware, with one.
On February 12, 2006, Merriman participated in the 2006 NFL Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. Although in a losing effort, Merriman made 3 tackles and forced one fumble.
In 2006, Merriman again began his season with success, recording 3 sacks and an interception in his first 2 games. Merriman went on to record 8.5 sacks and make ESPN's midseason All-pro team, prior to dropping an appeal against a NFL enforced 4 week suspension due to testing positive for steroids.
In the 2006 regular season, Merriman led the league in sacks with 17 while playing only 12 games. He also added 4 forced fumbles to his career (2 BUF, and 2 in DEN). Merriman finished third in the balloting for 2006 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, behind Jason Taylor and Champ Bailey, after having tested positive for using steroids which is against the leagues drug abuse policy. Taylor commented that Merriman should not have been considered for the award because of his suspension. Merriman reportedly responded by sending Taylor a "Lights Out" t-shirt and a box of popcorn with a note essentially saying enjoy watching him in the playoffs.
Merriman, nicknamed "Lights Out," performed a dance to celebrate each of his 17 sacks in 2006. In 2007, he announced that he would no longer perform this celebration. In week four of the 2007 season, however, Merriman performed the taunt after sacking Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard.



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