Archive for August, 2008
As we all know, Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman tore two ligaments in his knee last December in a game against the Titans. And the recent talks about Merriman receiving numerous doctor’s opinions has created more buzz than the Democratic National Convention. I don’t have a problem with athletes visiting more than one doctor to receive an opinion on a blown knee. I don’t even have a problem with the story hording all of the sport attention. What I do have a problem with is the fact that an athlete would think it’s completely normal to visit FOUR different doctors to hear the same words: ‘you need surgery’. Are you kidding? How much denial must you be in to think that the first, second, or third doctor didn’t really know what they were talking about? I love Shawne Merriman just as much as the die-hard Bolt fan in San Diego, but I have to admit that I am extremely disappointed in his recent decision to play football in 2008.
Merriman says that he just wants to play football, which is believable. But does the $1.55 million bonus if he makes the Pro Bowl influence his decision at all? Merriman has already made $2.85 million, but insists on risking his career to play this year. A few thoughts on that:
San Diego is a Super Bowl favorite in a lot of people’s minds. However, whether Merriman plays or not does not determine whether he receives his deserved Super Bowl ring. So why risk his remaining years at the young age of 24?
Shawne Merriman has the chance to be one of the best, if not the best, linebacker to ever play in the NFL. In just 4 short seasons, Merriman has averaged about 10 sacks per. Does he really want to jeopardize his potential HOF career?
If I had anything to do with the Chargers’ front office, I would certainly express the idea of making Merriman sit out the 2008 season. Although 2009 is Merriman’s last season, you still have plans of using him to make a run at (or repeat) the Super Bowl. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing that my top defensive player is playing on a rubber knee.
I suppose we should all trust Merriman when he says that he can play; but how can we? Seriously. He went to doctor after doctor, all of which said that he needs to get surgery and wait his seven months. But why is it that the fourth doctor just happened to be a Chargers’ team doctor? Does he really have Shawne’s best interest in mind? Probably not. The NFL is a business, so that doctor works for San Diego, not Shawne Merriman. Mark Schlereth, a former offensive lineman and two-time Pro Bowler, said it best this morning on a sport talk radio program. He basically said that if the Chargers and their doctors think Merriman will be just fine to play this season and that it will have no effect on his future, then sign him now to a multi-year contract extension and make him the highest-paid defensive player in football (which he arguably deserves). I couldn’t think of a better idea, basically telling the Chargers to put their money where their mouth is. Do you think the Chargers would go ahead with a new deal? Umm, no. Why? Because either the San Diego Chargers know that this injury will cut his career short, or they have absolutely no idea where this injury will land Merriman. Me personally, I’m not comfortable with either. I wish the best of luck to Merriman. Hopefully he can rack up 13 sacks this season and continue his career until he’s 38 with no set-backs. However, this is probably impossible. I would hate to see such a talented football player lose his remaining career due to his strong heart telling him to play football, and a couple of sketchy doctors.