- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2008

From combined dispatches

Star outside linebacker Shawne Merriman pulled the plug on his 2008 season Tuesday when he told the San Diego Chargers he will have surgery on the two torn ligaments in his left knee.

The loss of Merriman, whose hard hits earned him the nickname “Lights Out,” is a big one for a team that has Super Bowl expectations.

Merriman’s decision came two days after he barely resembled the player who had an NFL-high 39 1/2 sacks in the past three seasons and played in three straight Pro Bowls.

Merriman didn’t immediately return e-mails and telephone calls seeking comment.

“Shawne informed me he did not feel right and thought it best to shut it down,” Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said. “The road to winning the AFC West just got more difficult but not impossible. Nothing is impossible. Shawne is a great player and an inspirational leader. He will be missed. We wish him a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.”

Merriman had only two tackles in a shocking 26-24 loss to Carolina at home on Sunday. Even though Merriman appeared to be a nonfactor, coach Norv Turner said he thought the linebacker looked “explosive and very physical.”

TITANS: Quarterback Vince Young has a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, and coach Jeff Fisher said on his TV show the quarterback will not play Sunday at Cincinnati.

The coach would not give a timetable past that, calling the test results good news and that Young needs to heal up his leg.

Fisher said the team didn’t have the luxury of waiting to see whether Young was safe before calling Nashville police Sunday night.

“I was given some information from people that were close to him late afternoon, early evening that was quite honestly very concerning to me. I’m not going to go into specifics, but it was concerning to me,” Fisher said.

With only veteran Kerry Collins healthy and Kansas City preparing to sign Ingle Martin off the Titans’ practice squad, Fisher said they had agreed to terms with Chris Simms after working out four quarterbacks earlier.

Young’s agent said there was no need for concern because the quarterback was at a friend’s house watching football and eating chicken wings during the four hours when no one could find Young.

JAGUARS: Looking to bolster its offensive line following injuries to guards Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams, Jacksonville signed veterans Milford Brown and Chad Slaughter.

The Jaguars placed Manuwai on injured reserve and waived rookie cornerback Isaiah Gardner. The team also waived offensive tackle Cliff Louis from the practice squad.

Manuwai tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee Sunday at Tennessee. Williams ruptured his right biceps in warmups and is out indefinitely.

DOLPHINS: Miami placed rookie starting guard Donald Thomas on the injured reserve list.

Thomas suffered a foot injury in Sunday’s season opener against the New York Jets.

Thomas, a sixth-round draft pick from Connecticut, had been wearing a protective boot on the foot at practice Monday but had expected to practice Wednesday.



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