Linebacker Shawne Merriman wore out his welcome in San Diego, but he now has a chance to reestablish…
'Lights' at the End of the Tunnel
It was a long shot, but fans that remembered seeing his "Lights Out" dance like it was yesterday were hopeful a healthy Merriman could make an impact down the stretch.
The Chargers, it seems, were more curious to find out if their younger linebackers could excel while taking Merriman's practice reps and playing outside of his attention-hogging persona.
To be clear, the Chargers did not place Merriman on the injured-reserve list with a minor-injury designation because there is a slew of talented players behind him (or to make room for Antwan Barnes, who was signed to fill Merriman's roster spot).
There is a reason Antwan Applewhite and Brandon Lang went undrafted, just like there's a reason Barnes and Cyril Obiozor were available during the season.
This move was a statement as much as anything. The Chargers want dependable, team players. That philosophy demands the weeding out of players like Merriman and Antonio Cromartie, who was shipped off in the offseason because his play -- although flashy -- was selfish and unreliable.
The Chargers are more of a "team" without Merriman, Cromartie, and to a lesser extent, LaDainian Tomlinson. Whether they're a better team is yet to be seen.
One Happy Ending
All offseason, the focus was on restricted free agents Merriman, Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson. Merriman's saga has resolution and now so does McNeill's. The Chargers agreed to a five-year contract with McNeill on Wednesday, locking him up through the 2015 season. The move rewards McNeill's good-faith gesture to report to the team after Week 3 despite having only a minimal one-year tender offer.
Jackson's story is the last one to be finalized, but expect the final chapter to look a lot more like Merriman's than McNeill's.
--The Chargers released LS Ethan Albright and signed LS Mike Windt. The move was made to help improve kick coverage and protection.
--WR Kole Heckendorf was signed to the practice squad, taking the place of Richard Goodman, who was added to the active roster earlier this week.
What are Bolts fans saying about Merriman's release? See in the message boards.
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.
SDBoltReport.com Recommended Stories
Dr. Roto Video: Week 12 Key Matchups
Dr. Roto highlights each and every game upcoming for Week 12 and a Fantasy matchup to monitor within. Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon (pictured above) makes his return against the less-than-stellar…Read More
The 10 Biggest Anti-Knife Cities In The U.S.
If you're a hunter or an outdoorsman like us, chances are you carry some sort of pocket knife or multi-tool with a blade at all times. If you visit some of these cities your every-day tool could put…Read More
OU's Perine rushes into record books
Norman has seen a lot of special days, but few will compare to what Samaje Perine did Saturday in rushing for 427 yards and five touchdowns.Read More
6 Biggest Man-to-Man Rivalries in Sports
From Pierce and Lebron to Peyton and Tom to Ali and Frazier, we're celebrating love/hate on and off the field of play.Read More
Apache Administers Death to Taliban (VIDEO)
The Apache helicopter is one of the most famed and efficient killing machines in the U.S Army. Get the skinny on this 'steel dragon' and watch what one does to a platoon of Taliban fighters in…Read More