Bills LB Merriman announces plans to retire


BUFFALO, N.Y. — Linebacker Shawne Merriman is calling it “Lights Out” on his career.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection and 2005 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year said on his website Tuesday night that he intends to file retirement papers.

“I retire today not because I don’t feel I can go out there and still play the game at a very high level,” Merriman wrote. “I am retiring because I want to retire on my own terms and leave while I know I can still physically play the game.”

The Buffalo Bills later confirmed Merriman’s intentions in a text message and on its Twitter account. The 28-year-old Merriman also posted a note on his Twitter account, which included a link to his website (shawnemerriman.com). “I have a very Big announcement,” Merriman wrote. “Thanks everybody.”

The decision comes a week before he was eligible to become a free agent, and after spending parts of the past three seasons in Buffalo. That included last year, when he was cut by the Bills in August only to be re-signed by Buffalo in October to help address the team’s injury-riddled defense.

Merriman had expressed surprise he went unsigned for the first six weeks of last season. He returned to the Bills with a noticeably sun-burnt face, sheepishly explaining he had fallen asleep on the beach after working out at his home in Miami.