What’s up, gang? Well, normally, I give you the ends and outs of how lame my fantasy teams are, but as the title says, I want to digress from my normal to write a fan letter. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, but it’s my blog, and I’ll fawn if I want to…
For those of you in the know, I am a Chiefs/49ers fan. I have divided loyalty, if you must blame someone blame Joe Montana. Anyway, I grew up a Niners fan, but the first time I saw Derrick Thomas play, I became a Chiefs fan. Fast forward to 2000, Joe Montana had long retired, and Derrick Thomas past away. I was so heartbroken that I stopped watching football, until I passed tv one day and saw Tony Gonzalez make a catch, and I was hooked again.
I say that to get to my entry tonight. In 2005, I saw this dude named Shawne Merriman for the first time. I had no idea who he was, because (a) he played for the Chargers, and (b) he was ending Priest Holmes career at the time. (We didn’t know that for sure, of course.) Immediately, I hated him. I hated him with a passion. I wanted Tony Gonzalez to smash him in the mouth and do Merriman’s “Lights out” dance over him. The following year, yeah, I still hated him. It was after a Chiefs game that he received his steroids suspension. I, along with Chiefs nation, celebrated. I wanted him to appeal so he would be suspended during the next Chiefs/Chargers meetings (just to give my quarterbacks a break-Dude has six sacks against my Chiefs. He has sacked every Chiefs quarterback, except Cassell [yet] since 2005.).
Fast Forward again. Tony Gonzalez is doing a Kenny Mayne segment on ESPN Sunday Morning Countdown. I’m waiting patiently for the Gonzalez segment, when I become exasperated that they are doing a Merriman segment first. I threw my hands in the air and immediately began my Herm Edwards “Ah, here we go…” reenactment. I sat down pouting, waiting impatiently for the segment to begin, so it could quickly end. Then, I heard Shawne Merriman’s story, where he came from, how difficult life had been for him, and how he had made it to the NFL. Now, I often pretend to be the hard-nosed, kick you in the butt high school teacher, but by the end of the segment, I was crying…seriously. I normally only cry when I am angry-a sure fire sign that something bad is going to happen. They kept putting the camera right into his big brown eyes, and well I, okay damnit, I was bawling. (Okay, I cried during The Color Purple, too, but I dare you not to when you see Miss Celie’s face when her son said, “Momma”-I dare you, then you judge me.)
That segment didn’t make me a Merriman fan. It was his play. Before then, I would not watch him, mostly cause I wanted the Chiefs offensive line to destroy him. But, I started watching Charger games. I liked Marty Schottenheimer, sue me. I would watch Merriman sacrifice his body every week, trying to prove his critics wrong. So, he was outspoken. So, what? He reminded me of a young Derrick Thomas, just wanting to tear a quarterback apart. I would be shocked watching him run down running backs. I would cringe when he was nailing Tom Brady, drilling Peyton Manning, and destroying all 100 quarterbacks who have taken a snap as a Chief in the past few years. (I even loved the NFL Network Commercial he did with Phillip Rivers, Antonio Gates, and Lorenzo Neal.)
I was watching that game in 2007, when the Tennessee Titans delivered a cheap shot to his knee after they mistakenly believed that Merriman had delivered a cheap shot on quarterback Vince Young. Upon further review, Vince Young actually ran into Merriman (no offense, Vince, but that was funny as all get out. I just kept rewinding and rewinding...) Uh-uhm, long story short, he injured his knee. Most though just a sprain, after all he played in the playoffs on it, and then the Pro Bowl. We later found out that he probably should have gotten an operation shortly after the end of the season. We found out he had two damaged ligaments in his knee. After the advice of many, he shut it down after one game in 2008. Now, look I have torn cartilage in my knee. I should have surgery. My doctor keeps reminding me. Look, a paper cut takes me out of the game. Until my knee falls off, I’m not getting an operation. That’s my prerogative. It was Merriman’s, too. It was his knee, not yours, not mine.
So, now he’s back. I’ve heard about his workouts. I have Twitter, duh, I’m a fan… “Hello!” He only has 3 tackles, uh-huh, I’ve read the papers. (Those of you obsessed with numbers, go check out the numbers of Julius Peppers, James Harrison, and DeMarcus Ware, I'll wait...) People are ready to write him off after only 4 games. Okay…I’m not one of those people. So, he’s a spokesperson (uhm, so is Peyton Manning), and so he is a little Hollywood (yeah, you have seen Tom Brady & Romo& Reggie in the tabs, right). So, what’s your point? Don’t give me that Labor Day brouhaha, with you know who. Yeah, I don’t care. I have been around football players my whole life. It usually takes a while to get your sea legs back. It just does. He can’t stay in the pocket like Brady, McNabb, and Palmer (the quarterbacks many are comparing him, too). I’m not jumping off the Merriman bandwagon. San Diego should be happy they have him. Even with his bad knee, he’s better than many of the “healthy” linebackers (and I use that term loosely) on the Chiefs. If you “fans” in San Diego don’t want him, I would love to have him on either of my teams (Merriman and Patrick Willis, awe-some). There are only two players that I look forward to watching play every week-Tony Gonzalez and Shawne Merriman, and nothing the nay sayers have to whine about either is going to change that. So, Good Luck, Shawne with the rest of your season. Your real fans have got your back. I wish you much health and many sacks. I want to end this letter with one of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”
Now, back to my regularly scheduled whine about my teams…