And that's the end of the Shawne Merriman era in San Diego. The once-fearsome OLB has been put on the Injured-Reserve list (minor injury designation) by the team with his calf injury and must be released by the team once he gets healthy.
After flying out of the gates with 39.5 sacks in his first 42 games, Shawne has struggled with injuries and allegations of steroids fueling his success after a positive PED test. He missed the entire 2008 season before struggling through 2009 in terms of production and health.
After skipping most of training camp this year, and looking for the team to promise him he'd be a Charger for this entire season, Merriman has once again struggled to stay healthy and get on the field. With so many other injuries at OLB, the team simply could not afford to keep a roster spot for a guy who doesn't seem to ever be healthy enough to make an impact.
Unlike the situations with Vincent Jackson or LaDainian Tomlinson, the team and the fans will always be rooting for Shawne because he seemed to give it his all on every play, in every game and for every season. I wish him the best of luck going forward and hope he can do some damage in the NFC somewhere far away from the Chargers.
UPDATE: Shawne has released a statement:
I have been blessed to call San Diego my home for the past six years. I can’t say enough about my teammates, the coaching staff and of course the fans who have made my career with the Chargers such an amazing experience. I am approaching this situation as an opportunity to grow as a player and to bring my leadership and talents to a new organization. I am ready for the next chapter in my career and I am excited about the opportunity to continue my journey with a new team.
#56 / Linebacker / San Diego Chargers
May 25, 1984