Shawne Merriman out; to be released

The San Diego Chargers just put out a release saying that oft-injured linebacker Shawne Merriman was put on the injured reserve and he will be released when he is healthy.

The release said Merriman, 26, was put on the IR with a calf injury and a minor-injury designation (less than six-week injury), meaning he must be released when he regains his health. Should he clear waivers at that point, the Chargers could try to bring him back, but that may be unlikely. There had been talk that the team was tiring of Merriman’s unreliable health.

Merriman re-injured his calf against Oakland. He was limited in the first five weeks of the season. Merriman missed all but one game in 2008 because of a major knee injury that hampered him last season. Merriman had a league-leading 39.5 sacks in his first three NFL seasons. He has had four sacks since.

The Chargers have been ravaged by injuries at linebacker this season. Merriman is the fourth linebacker to be put on the IR. Antwan Applewhite will start while 2009 first-round pick Larry English heals from a broken foot. He will likely be out for, at least, two more weeks.

I will come back with more thoughts on Merriman’s situation later.