Shawne Merriman
OLB - Shawne Merriman (#56)

Date of Birth: May 25, 1984
Height: 6 ft 4 in
Weight: 265 lbs
Place of Birth: Washington, D.C.
College: Maryland

Shawne Merriman is easily the "biggest name" on the Buffalo Bills. Drafted #12 in the 2004 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, Merriman entered the league as one of the hardest-hitters to ever come out of the collegiate level. "Lights Out", Merriman's nickname, was earned during a high school football game where he knocked three of the opposing team's players unconscious before half-time. Merriman lived up to the hype.

Merriman started for the Chargers in week 7 of the 2005 season, recording six sacks in his first four games. He went on to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie, and once again in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. In 2006, Merriman was banned for the first 4 regular season games after being positively
tested for steroids. After the ban, he set the league on fire, recording a league leading 17 sacks in the remaining 12 games. He followed his 17 sack campaign, with another 12.5 sack campaign in 2007.

Since the 2007 season, Merriman has been plagued by injuries. The Buffalo Bills took a risk and signed Merriman in 2010 to provide the rush presence they've been desperately lacking. He has been placed on injured reserve in four straight seasons (2008-2011). At the start of preseason this year there was talk that the "old Shawne Merriman" was back. We still haven't got a taste of it in Buffalo. GM Buddy Nix is giving Merriman one more shot in 2012, already stating that he will be their starting OLB. If Merriman can return to anything close to his previous form, Buffalo's defense will dramatically improve.