Former Chargers and Bills star linebacker Shawne Merriman joins WWE

Former Chargers and Bills star linebacker Shawne Merriman joins WWE
Former Chargers and Bills star linebacker Shawne Merriman joins WWE

Now that former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman has joined WWE, it makes sense.

You can picture Merriman in professional wrestling, right? He has the "Lights Out" nickname, looks like he could hold his own in the ring and it's easy to see him doing his old sack dance right before his finishing move.

The news that Merriman is working with the WWE came from "The John Layfield and Michael Cole Show," via SB Nation's Testudo Times blog. The Testudo Times says it's unclear what role the former Chargers and Bills linebacker will have with the wrestling organization. said the plan is for Merriman to be an announcer while he trains to be a wrestler, then make the transition to the ring when he's ready. 

Merriman took the NFL by storm as a first-round pick by San Diego in 2005. He won the NFL defensive rookie of the year award in 2005, led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2006 and made three straight Pro Bowls in his first three seasons. Merriman tore knee ligaments in 2008 and tried to play through it before eventually having surgery. He was never the same, with just six more NFL sacks before walking away from the game after the 2012 season.

The rumors really got going when WWE star Rey Mysterio Jr. posted a photo with Merriman on his Instragram account with the hastag #futurewwesuperstar:

Merriman is a big wrestling fan, and his current avatar on Twitter is a tribute to the Ultimate Warrior, a former wrestling star who died this week. He has made WWE appearances before. If he can get down the nuances of wrestling, it would seem he could have a nice career. He's obviously a huge guy and an elite athlete (everyone who remembers how destructive he was early in his NFL career can tell you that), and has the charisma that plays well in that arena.

There's a long history of men who have taken up wrestling after their football careers are done. The WWE seems ready to find out if "Lights Out" can follow that path.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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