Count Ray Lewis among those who would like to see former Chargers outside linebacker Shawne Merriman join the Ravens.
Lewis, who is a mentor of Merriman and talks with him often, said he spoke to the former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year last night after he was waived by San Diego. The unquestioned leader of the Ravens' defense said today that he endorses the idea of Merriman joining Baltimore's linebacker ranks.
"It's kind of hard to say if I want him here. Of course - would I want Shawne Merriman here? Why wouldn't I want him here?" Lewis said. "But the list is too long, so we'll just have to wait it out and see what happens."
The list that Lewis refers to is the number of teams that would need to pass on Merriman through the waiver process.
Head coach John Harbaugh confirmed last night that the Ravens are interested in Merriman, but they don't intend to put in a waiver claim on him because of contract issues. That means that Baltimore will now have to wait and see if any other team claims the three-time Pro Bowler.
If Merriman clears waivers, the Ravens will have the opportunity to sign him as a free agent. A Washington, D.C. native, Merriman has expressed interest in coming to Baltimore.
The Ravens could use a boost to their pass rush, which has generated just 12 sacks on the year.
"It's always a tough situation anytime you find yourself in the situation he's in, but it gives him opportunity now," Lewis said. "It gives him opportunity to go hopefully to a team that can really use his talents for what he can do, and that is get after that quarterback."
The Chargers put Merriman on Injured Reserve because of a calf injury and a "minor-injury designation" last month. Because Merriman was deemed healthy during a recent physical, San Diego had to release him.
After a very strong start to his career, the University of Maryland product has battled a number of injuries the past few years, including reconstructive knee surgery which caused him to miss most of the 2008 season.
Lewis still thinks that Merriman, just 26, has plenty of football left in him.
"Just having conversations with him, I think his thing is just to get back on the field and have fun," Lewis said. "That's kind of what I've been preaching to him. Don't worry about nothing else, just come out and play football. Come out and do what you do best, what you've been doing since [you were] a child. And that's kind of what he's truly been reflecting upon, just getting back on the field and establishing himself as a presence again."