It's just been reported that Merriman has decided to undergo surgery to rebuild his knee (Hat tip to Big Blue Shoe and Eaters). Apparently it didn't feel right after the game and he informed AJ Smith that he was going to get the surgery. There is no doubt that he will be missed, he brought huge pressure from that OLB position. You just don't replace a Pro Bowler and not take a hit. Over three years Merriman has put up 40.5 sacks and has been an emotional force on the field. Jyles Tucker looks to be the logical replacement, and certainly had a huge game against the Raiders last year; producing three sacks and recovering a fumble for a TD.
This is the smart move for Merriman, he looked great in straight lines but his ability to cut looked limited. This way Merriman will have time to rehab and come back strong in 2009; the final year of his contract. Hopefully he is young enough that he will bounce all the way back to what Charger fans know is the best linebacker in the NFL. While a tough break coming at the start of the season, it would be a shame if he took a hit that ended his career. Overcoming adversity is a hallmark of great teams, it will be interesting to see how the Chargers respond next week in Denver.