Examining Shawne Merriman
What will 2012 hold for Shawne Merriman? Chan Gailey summed up the Bills answer for that in one simple sentence. "What I think we’re going to see is the old Shawne Merriman this year," the head coach said following the team's final OTA session.
When the Bills claimed Merriman off waivers during the 2010 season, it was considered a low-risk, potentially highly-rewarding move. It looked as though there would be no reward after the dynamic pass rusher aggravated his achilles injury in his first practice in Orchard Park. But the Bills added a little more risk to the investment, signing Merriman to a two year contract extension while searching for that same reward.
Then came last season. Merriman charged out of the gate, recording two sacks in the preseason opener against the Chicago Bears. But when the regular season got underway, the achilles trouble continued. Merriman finished with only nine tackles in five games, and landed on injured reserve for the third time in four years. But this time, Merriman underwent offseason surgery in the hopes of repairing the long time injury.
"This is my first offseason that I’ve had with the team for the workouts in the past three years so that’s a long time," Merriman said after taking part in all but one of the Bills OTAs. "I’ve got most of the kinks out during the offseason workouts and finishing up OTAs. I feel really good."
Coach Chan Gailey concurred. "(I'm) excited about where he is physically, really physically and mentally because he’s come out every day with an outlook that’s just outstanding. He works hard. He looks quick. He looks healthy. That part of it has been refreshing for us."