IRVING, Texas – Rather quietly this week, Shawne Merriman announced his retirement after eight seasons with San Diego and Buffalo.
There was a time when people wondered if the Cowboys made the right decision in drafting DeMarcus Ware over Merriman.
For this, you can -- wait for it -- thank Jerry Jones.
It's easy to bash Jones for everything that has gone wrong with the Cowboys, but the decision to draft Ware with the 11th overall pick in 2005 was his. When the Cowboys came to work for the first round of the draft that year, many inside the building thought Merriman would have been the Cowboys' pick.
Bill Parcells always liked guys from bigger schools, and Maryland is just a little bigger than Ware’s Troy.
But Jones went with Ware, even after Parcells said he would rather take Marcus Spears with the 11th pick. Parcells was not exactly pleased at the time, but then the Cowboys got Spears with the 20th pick and the coach’s mood brightened.
This isn’t to say Parcells didn’t want or didn’t like Ware. In his first comments after the selection he compared Ware to Lawrence Taylor, and throwing around compliments was not exactly something Parcells did a lot.
Merriman was named the NFL’s rookie of the year in 2005 and led the league with 17 sacks in 2006, but he was suspended four games for violating the banned substance policy. He added another 12.5 sacks in 2007 but would have only six the rest of his career, in large part because of injuries.
Ware, meanwhile has been named to the Pro Bowl seven straight years, is the team’s official all-time leader in sacks (111) and should close in on the unofficial record (114)in 2013. Ware has been the consummate professional throughout his career, not missing a game and playing hurt.
He's coming back from shoulder surgery and switching to defensive end as the Cowboys move to the 4-3 in 2013.
You didn’t need to hear about Merriman’s retirement this week to know the Cowboys made the right decision in 2005.