Shawne Merriman was a force to be reckoned with from the first moment he stepped on an NFL field. The former Maryland University stand-out won defensive rookie of the year in 2005 after recording 10 sacks as an OLB for the Chargers. In 2006, Merriman came back with a league-high 17 sacks, and was named to his second Pro Bowl – but saw his season marred by a 4-game steroid suspension, and was openly criticized by other players including Dolphin stand-out Jason Taylor. This year, “Lights Out” Shawne has recorded 5.5 sacks, and helped his team rebound from a dismal start to reach 4-3, good enough for a first-place tie in the weak AFC West. The Viking Age was lucky enough to grab a few minutes on the phone with Shawne this week, to ask him about the Chargers’ up-and-down season, and his own controversial career.
TVA: So Shawne. Been kind of a wacky season out there for the Chargers. Starting off 1-3. Lots of sniping. People saying Norv Turner’s not cut out to be a head coach. All the stuff with the fires. Now you’ve turned it around and gotten to 4-3. Must seem like you’ve already played a full season.
Shawne Merriman: Boy, you said it man. I mean it’s been tough. But like I always say to my boys man, you gotta tough it out when it gets tough. Cause it’s the toughest who survive you know what I’m saying?
TVA: I smell what you’re cooking Shawne. But still, early in the season, being 1-3 – you must’ve had your doubts.
SM: Naw man. Cause it’s like, I just don’t believe in doubt. You know what I’m saying? Doubt is for the doubters. And we ain’t got no doubters on this team. We got believers on this team you know what I’m saying?
TVA: Read you loud and clear Shawne. Of course, there were plenty of doubters on the outside. People saying Norv Turner is a great coordinator but a crap head coach. Saying you guys never should’ve fired Marty Schottenheimer. How did that go down with you guys?
SM: Well, to be honest, I don’t really listen to no media stuff. I mean the media says a lot of stuff about this and that, and that guy’s no good, and this guy can’t cut it, and it’s all like what the hell man? I just put on my tunes and zone out you know what I’m saying? Cause the media is gonna do what the media does. And Lights Out’s gonna do what Lights Out does. Which is make people’s lights go out.
TVA: Right. But even if you ignore the media, you can’t ignore what goes on in the locker room. There had to be some tension. A team with Super Bowl aspirations going 1-3.
SM: I don’t even remember that man. That was like a thousand years ago to me you know? That was like Spartan times. That was like the 300 man, that’s how old that was. Like all those guys in skirts fighting and the big Persian dude who looked like a mutant Manute Bol. It’s history. Lights Out is all about the now, you know what I’m saying?
TVA: Let’s talk about now then. Specifically this weekend’s game against the Vikings. Adrian Peterson has some pretty wicked moves and has made some guys look bad this year. What do you do against a guy like AD?
SM: I don’t even know nothing about no Adrian Peterson. That dude’s a rookie and I don’t worry about what no rookie does. If he runs into me I’m gonna make his lights go out like he forgot to pay his bill you know what I’m saying? People run near me and I tackle them.
TVA: So you’re not too concerned about AD or the Viking offense?
SM: Viking offense? What the hell you talking about? Did they get Cris Carter and Warren Moon back? There ain’t no offense over there. I looked at the tape and all I saw was guys can’t run, guys can’t pass, guys can’t catch, coach doesn’t know when to call challenges. Y’all might as well have the cheerleaders go out there and play. Least then Lights Out would get himself some real action and I ain’t talking about the football kind.
TVA: Hold on a sec. Are you saying you’d engage in public sex with cheerleaders?
SM: That’s what you said.
TVA: All right if you say so. Now Shawne, I’d like to move on to the subject of steroids…
SM: Uh, what?
TVA: Steroids. You did get suspended for four games last year…
SM: I know I got suspended. What you think Lights Out is some kind of dummy?
TVA: Course not. I would never suggest that a man who calls himself Lights Out was a dummy…
SM: You better not. Cause I’ll find you and whup your ass…
TVA: Woah, Shawne. Roid rage much?
SM: You think you’re smart [expletive deleted]? I’ll make your lights go out so much the power company won’t even be able to find the plug to hook you back up.
TVA: So I take it you don’t want to discuss steroids.
SM: I got nothing to say about steroids. I don’t take steroids. I never took steroids. Somebody got it wrong someplace but that’s okay. I served my suspension and so what? I still made the Pro Bowl. And Jason Taylor can just keep his big yap shut about it.
TVA: I take it you haven’t patched things up with Taylor after his remarks about you…
SM: I got a lot of respect for Jason Taylor as a football player. He’s a great football player. His team ain’t that good this year but what the hell you gonna do? That’s what happens to people who run their yap. It’s karma. Like you talk [expletive deleted] about Lights Out and you end up going 0-16 and everybody laughs their butt off about you. Ain’t no coincidences in this world.
TVA: That’s very profound Shawne. But getting back to the Chargers. It’s going to be tough making the Super Bowl with New England and Indy in the way. And you guys already got spanked by the Patriots this year. Do you guys think you really have a shot at the big game?
SM: Of course we have a shot. We got a great back in LT, a great weapon in Antonio Gates, we picked up Chris Chambers, we got me. Let me tell you, give us another chance at the Patriots, that’s all I’m saying. We’ll have something for them bozos next time. That little troll Belichick can cheat all he wants, he won’t have no chance against us. He won’t be running no score up on us. And that little pretty-boy Tom Brady won’t be so pretty once Lights Out is done with him. I’ll dance on his pretty little face so his big-nosed model girlfriend won’t even recognize him.
TVA: Not a big fan of quarterbacks are you Shawne?
SM: Quarterbacks is all prima donnas. They’re all spoiled mama’s boys. If I had a dump truck I’d put all the quarterbacks in the dump truck and drive it out in the woods and dump them in a big pit and then me and my boys would pee all over them and they’d be all pee-covered and crying and have to find their own way back home without their limo drivers.
TVA: Aggressive. Thanks for the time Shawne.
SM: Bite me.
(disclaimer: If I need to tell you the above was wholly fabricated, well, you’re an idiot.)