Chargers Linebacker Says He Didn't Harm Reality TV Star

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San Diego Chargers star outside linebackerShawne Merriman said he did not harm reality TV star Tila Tequilaat his home early Sunday and added he was concerned for her safetybecause she appeared to be intoxicated.

Merriman was arrested and accused of choking and throwingTequila to the ground as she tried to leave his home in suburbanPoway. Tequila signed a citizen's arrest warrant charging Merrimanwith battery and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.

Merriman spent about 2½ hours in the downtown jail beforeposting bail.

Merriman practiced Monday, then said he's convinced he'll becleared. It will ultimately be up to the District Attorney's officeto decide if he'll be charged.

"I think when it all surfaces, it will be a differentsituation. Period," said Merriman, who described Tequila as anacquaintance.

Tequila, whose real name is Tila Nguyen, is best known for "AShot at Love with Tila Tequila," which ran for two seasons on MTV.The bisexual dating show featured men and women vying for Tequila'saffections. She has also modeled for Playboy and other men'smagazines.

Merriman said he was limited in what he could say. He keptreferring to a statement issued through his attorney Sunday night.

"At the time, I was concerned about her welfare given theintoxicated state she appeared to be in and I encouraged her tostay until safe transportation could be provided," Merriman saidin the statement. "We would all do our best to help a friend if weconsidered their actions to be detrimental to their personalsafety.

"I in no way caused any harm to Ms. Nguyen, however, paramedicswere called and she was examined but no injuries were reported,"the statement continued.

"It's kind of a tough situation where you think you're doingthe right thing," Merriman said Monday. "I'm glad that everyonewas safe at the end of the day. I don't think I will regret thatpart."

Asked if he threw Tequila to the ground, the 6-foot-4, 265-poundMerriman said: "No. I can't talk about any of that stuff."

Scott E. Leemon, an attorney for Tequila, didn't respond to ane-mail asking for comment on Merriman's statement.

Also Monday, the owner of a downtown club where Merriman andTequila attended a party Saturday night said his staff told himTequila had been drinking and it appeared Merriman had ordered onlybottled water.

"I feel sorry for the guy and I think the truth needs to betold," said James Brennan, who owns Stingaree, one of the city'stop hangouts for celebrities.

Brennan said he normally wouldn't comment, but felt he shouldafter seeing Tequila's tweet in which she said she's allergic toalcohol.

"It sounds like she's allergic to the truth," Brennan told TheAssociated Press.

Brennan said he was not at the club Saturday night, but hadspoken with every employee who dealt with Tequila and Merriman.Brennan said he was told she had shots of tequila and drank from abottle of vodka. Brennan said Tequila requested that his brother,Shane, a manager at Stingaree, have a shot of tequila with her.

"She wasn't like falling down or anything of that nature, butshe was visibly intoxicated," Brennan said.

In a tweet Sunday, Tequila said: "I am allergic to alcohol. Ithas been publicly known for years. That is how I got the name Tila"Tequila" cuz the irony. I cant drink."

Merriman said he met Monday morning with team president DeanSpanos and coach Norv Turner.

"They're just all supportive, hopefully that we can move onfrom the situation as soon as possible," Merriman said.

Merriman said he did not meet with general manager A.J. Smith.

Smith is believed to be unhappy with Merriman's variousoff-field activities. There's been speculation the Chargers willMerriman leave when he's eligible to become an unrestricted freeagent.

Merriman is one of the NFL's hardest-hitting players. Nicknamed"Lights Out" for his savage hits, he has a tattoo of a switch onone of his forearms that he pretends to flip while doing hisspasmodic sack dance.

He had 39½ sacks in his first three seasons. The three-time ProBowl selection has been getting back into shape after havingseason-ending knee surgery following the 2008 opener.

Merriman was suspended four games for testing positive forsteroids in 2006, his second NFL season.

Star running back LaDainian Tomlinson said Merriman soughtadvice from key teammates. Tomlinson also said Turner addressed theteam.

"He wanted us to continue to think about places we'll be, whattime we're there and who we're around," Tomlinson said. "Thoseare the things we can control. That was kind of his point."

Turner refused to say what he said to the team. Smith didn'treturn a call seeking comment and a team spokesman said Spanoswasn't going to comment.

The Chargers open the season next Monday night at Oakland.

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