Former University of Maryland star outside linebacker
Known as "Lights Out," for his hard-hitting style ever since his days at Frederick Douglass High School in Upper Marlboro, Merriman has now flipped the switch to off on his
Merriman 28, played eight seasons in the NFL after being drafted by the San Diego Cargers in the first round with the 12th overall selection of the 2005
Merriman has battled injuries, including knee problems, ending his career with the
"After a lengthy discussion with my agent, family and team, I have officially decided to put in my retirement papers today," Merriman stated on his website. "My retirement from the game I love so much and from the game that has brought me so many opportunities on and off the field has been decided with great thought for my future on and off the field.
"I retire today not because I don't feel I can go out there and still play the game at a very high level, I am retiring because I want to retire on my own terms and leave while I know I can still physically play the game."
Merriman, who had a career-high 17 sacks in his second NFL season despite missing four games due to an NFL suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, finished his career with 257 tackles, 45 1/2 sacks and eight forced fumbles.
Merriman had all but six of his sacks during his first three NFL seasons.