Culture change for Shawne Merriman

One of the biggest criticisms Shawne Merriman received while he was in San Diego was that he was too “Hollywood.”

MerrimanMerrimanMerriman loves the spotlight. He loves being a celebrity. He never missed an opportunity to hobnob with the rich and famous. It was well known that it bothered some in the San Diego organization.

It was as if he was physically located too close to Hollywood for some in the organization. He was just a freeway’s ride away to too many distractions, whether it was filming a weekly NFL preview show, making a cameo on "Entourage" or hanging with pro wrestlers. Merriman has interests other than football.

Problem solved. Now, Merriman couldn’t be further away from Hollywood. He now works in Buffalo, N.Y. Drop the sunglasses, “Lights Out’ and grab a parka. It’s all football.

While Merriman and Buffalo may not be the best fit for Merriman’s glitzy lifestyle, it is his opportunity to breathe life into his NFL career. The Bills, led by former San Diego executive Bubby Nix, believe Merriman can resurrect his career.

Merriman hasn’t been effective since 2007 because of injuries. But the truth is he is just 26 and he has 43.5 career sacks. He deserves a chance to show he can stay healthy and make plays again. This was once a dominant force. He deserves another chance.

I thought Denver could make a play for Merriman, who’ll be a free agent after this season, because it is without pass rushers Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers because of injuries. But the Broncos didn’t bite. Merriman was also claimed by Tampa Bay and Miami. But the Bills had the top claiming priority, so Merriman is shuffling off to Buffalo.

Buffalo doesn’t offer bright lights, but it gives Merriman a chance to get back on the field. He needs to take advantage of it.