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Atlanta Must Turn Lights Out On Merriman

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Former Chargers and Bills LB Shawne Merriman should be left in street clothes and be left out of any future plans in Atlanta. Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images.
Former Chargers and Bills LB Shawne Merriman should be left in street clothes and be left out of any future plans in Atlanta. Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images.

The Falcons can still use more help on defense by obtaining more established pass rushers, even after nabbing DE Osi Umenyiora in the offseason. But as we get closer to the start of the 2013 season, it is better to find out which unproven linebacker will help Umenyiora get to the quarterback.

Retired LB Shawne Merriman thinks he can still help defenses knock out ballcarriers. According to Pro Football Talk, Merriman tweeted to his fans on July 28 about lobbying the Falcons front office to sign him while suggesting coaches should keep Umenyiora as a defensive end instead of teaching the former Giant how to play linebacker.

We should just let "Lights Out" tweet because it is very unlikely that he will make a return to the NFL, let alone contribute specifically to the Falcons defense. Keep in mind that Atlanta prefers brining in talented players who can also act as professionals both on the field and in their community. Last time I checked, Merriman had some question marks in his past, including accusations that he choked former girlfriend Tila Tequila and getting suspended for using performance enhancing drugs.

I do not think Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff will bring Merriman in simply because of his off the field issues. It is also too late for the Falcons to bring in a veteran pass rusher, especially when this particular veteran's production has been declining over the last five seasons. As mentioned earlier, the coaches are better off working with the linebackers that they already have. I would personally rather see LB Brian Banks continue his amazing story than watch Merriman continue to flop.

Additionally, Merriman's body - his legs in particular - has been breaking down ever since the end of the 2007 season, which was his last Pro Bowl year. No one wants a washed-up linebacker who may not even last an entire NFL season taking up roster space in favor of a younger player who could sit and learn.

So Falcons fans, do not count on Merriman returning to the field to join the Dirty Birds any time soon. It is about time for him to finally turn the lights out on any more comeback attempts.