Dallas Cowboys: Shawne Merriman

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.

Cowboys-Chargers injury report

December, 11, 2009
IRVING -- Nothing new to report on the Cowboys, FB Deon Anderson (knee) and CB Terence Newman (knee soreness) are listed as probable.

The Chargers have some issues.

The players you care about: OLB Shawne Merriman is questionable with a foot injury but the other top defender, OLB Shaun Phillips (ankle) is probable. P Mike Scifres (groin), ranked eight in the league with a 45.9 average, is probable.

Safety Eric Weddle, who has played in 673 plays, the third most on the team, didn't practice with a knee injury and is listed as doubtful. C.J. Spillman will get the start.

Chargers' Merriman returns to practice

December, 9, 2009
IRVING, Texas -- Chargers outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, who missed last week's game at Cleveland with a foot injury, returned to practice but was limited.

The other outside linebacker, Shaun Phillips, did not practice because of an ankle injury.

Defensive end Luis Castillo did practice fully as his calf injury seems to be healing. Guard Kris Dielman did not practice due to a non-football related injury.

No more questions about Ware or Merriman

December, 9, 2009
IRVING, Texas -- The days when people questioned whether the Dallas Cowboys picked the right outside linebacker in the 2005 first round are long gone.

DeMarcus Ware, the 10th overall pick, is at least a tier above the man who the San Diego Chargers took with the next selection.

That wasn't the case early in their careers. Ware got off a great start with 19.5 sacks in his first two seasons. But that success paled in comparison with the dominance of Merriman, who had 27 sacks in his first two seasons, leading the league with 17 in 2006.

Ware claims that the comparisons to Merriman didn't serve as motivational fodder.

"I mean, I get motivated every day, especially coming from such a small school," Ware said. "They usually say, 'Can you measure up?' I just think that being consistent every year, showing consistency, that’s what I’ve been harping on every year. I get pressure and do what I do and really don’t worry about what everyone else says."

Pretty much everyone says these days that Ware is one of the premier defensive players in the NFL. Ware leads the league with 43 sacks since the start of the 2007 season. Merriman, who missed all but one game last season with a knee injury, has 16.5 sacks during that span.