When Chris Kelsay retired last week, few Buffalo Bills fans were surprised. The same probably can’t be said for Shawne Merriman, who chose his personal website late Tuesday afternoon that he was retiring from the NFL at just 28-years old.
Merriman’s official statement from his website is as follows:
“After a lengthy discussion with my agent, family, and team, I have officially decided to put in my retirement papers today. My retirement from the game I love so much and from the game that has brought me so many opportunities on and off the field has been decided with great thought for my future on and off the field. I retire today not because I don’t feel I can go out there are still play my game at a very high level, I am retiring because I want to retire on my own terms and leave while I know I can still physically play the game. I am stepping back to pursue other great opportunities that have been afforded to me. I want to thank all my fans around the country. I want to thank the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills for their support during my time at each club. I feel truly blessed to have been a part of the NFL and to have had the opportunity of a lifetime. I am excited to pursue my other career opportunities and look forward to what is on the horizon for me. I will continue to train with some of the guys not because of football but because it’s a part of my lifestyle.”
Although Merriman’s arrival and time in Buffalo has been much discussed, he played in just 15 games in parts of two seasons, recording just two sacks and 18 tackles.
Merriman was due to become an unrestricted free agent and it was unlikely the Bills would attempt to re-sign him. Merriman was cut early last season by the Bills and spent six weeks unemployed before injuries to Mark Anderson and Kelsay helped lead to his return.
Merriman was well-liked in the locker room by his teammates and a consistent lightning rod for positivity.
I’d be naïve and foolish if I didn’t mention specifically how my 2011 erroneous report on Merriman regarding the steroids/Canadian border incident didn’t change my career and life in both negative—and positive ways. To the man’s credit, he held no grudge, publicly accepted my apology and made it a non-issue, at least to him. To mine, I manned up to a doing a really shitty job of presenting a story—an effort I paid a strong price for, and am still constantly reminded about.
As for Merriman, I’ll always respect the man, and wish him the best in his future.