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Merriman Retires From NFL After Seven Seasons, Three Pro Bowls

NFL Player Shawne Merriman
National Football League defensive end Shawne Merriman, seen here playing for the Buffalo Bills in October 2011, was the NFL's defensive rookie of the year in 2005 for the San Diego Chargers. Photographer: Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Shawne Merriman, a three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher who missed 30 games the past three seasons because of injuries, said he’s retiring from the National Football League following a seven-year career in which he totaled 45 1/2 sacks.

Merriman, 28, said on his website that he’s leaving the NFL because he wants to “retire on his own terms and leave while I know I can still physically play the game.” Merriman missed 24 games because of Achilles tendon injuries during the 2010-11 NFL seasons and played 10 games for the Buffalo Bills last year, making one start and collecting one sack.

Merriman, a former first-round draft pick, was the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year in 2005 for the San Diego Chargers. He registered 39 1/2 sacks during his first three seasons, including 17 in 12 games in 2006, and became known for his “Lights Out” dance after bringing down opposing quarterbacks. Merriman was also suspended for four games during the 2006 season for failing a steroids test. At the time, his agent said Merriman unknowingly ingested the banned anabolic steroid Nandralone in a supplement.

Merriman had six sacks over his final four NFL seasons.

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