Report: Ravens interested in Merriman

Former Chargers outside linebacker Shawne Merriman is familiar with the Maryland area. The six-year veteran was born in Washington, DC, and attended the University of Maryland.

According to Peter King of SI.com, Merriman could potentially be returning to the area sometime soon.

King Tweeted earlier today that the Ravens would be interested in signing the three-time Pro Bowler given a couple conditions.

“Ravens would have interest in Shawne Merriman w/2 big ifs--if he passes physical in next 24 hours, and if it’s a relatively low-money deal,” King wrote.

The physical would be anything but a formality; Merriman was placed on Injured Reserve by the Chargers just last week because of a calf injury. Despite the IR designation, Merriman must be released by the Chargers once he’s healthy.

The linebacker known as “Lights Out” started his NFL career on a tear, earning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2005 and posting 39.5 sacks in his first three seasons.

In his last three years, however, Merriman’s numbers have dropped on the field, and he’s had problems off the field as well.

The 26-year-old missed all but one game in 2008 after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery. He’s also suffered Achilles’ and calf injuries since then.

Merriman has posted just four sacks in the last three seasons, and had just six tackles in three games with the Chargers this season prior to being put on IR.

He was arrested back in 2009 after Tila Tequila, a reality TV personality (I refuse to use the word “star”) accused him of battery and false imprisonment. No charges were filed.

Merriman also was suspended for four games in 2006 for testing positive for steroids.

The former Terp hasn’t proven he can stay healthy lately, and his lack of production and off-field issues are red flags as well. But given the Ravens’ inability to get to the quarterback late in yesterday’s game against the Patriots, GM Ozzie Newsome might be willing to consider giving Merriman a shot as a third down pass rusher.

We’ll wait and see.

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