Shawne Merriman is an actor. Last month, he nailed his one line in the HBO show “Entourage.”
Merriman is a comedian. He updates his Twitter account several times a day with such zingers as “I'm going to start calling some people ice cream because they always want the scoop.”
He is a businessman and a celebrity who, by popular belief, enjoys every last photon of limelight sent his way.
Remember when Merriman was a football player, too?
The man they call “Lights Out” shows up on the Chargers roster as an outside linebacker, but so far this training camp, the veteran has been a total no-show. That trend is expected to continue at Tuesday's 4-6 p.m. practice at Chargers Park.
Whenever he decides to join his teammates, a one-year, $3.3 million tender will be on the table awaiting the restricted free agent. There will also be the chance to diffuse a growing sense that he is more interested in the “other things” than helping the Chargers win a Super Bowl.
So what's the hold up? No one really knows for certain.
Merriman has a list of demands he has provided to the San Diego Union-Tribune, but every point is as convoluted as the next. Its top item is security.
“I need to know I’m not going to be on the trade block every three weeks,” Merriman told beat reporter Kevin Acee. “To me, it really comes down to, 'Am I on the trading block this week? The third week of the season, am I on the block?' Where is that comfortability for me?”
Probably nowhere on the horizon.
This isn't baseball where no-trade clauses are outlined in contracts. Any assurance Merriman receives from general manager A.J. Smith will be little more than lip service.
If the right offer comes, you're gone. That's the NFL. Either deal with it or learn to hit a curveball.
If Merriman thinks that equates to unstable job security, he should try asking for sympathy points from a California school teacher or construction worker.
Merriman also told the Union-Tribune he wants to be the focal point of the Chargers defense.
“I’m only coming back to be 'the guy' on the defense,” he said. “I’m not coming back to be 'a guy.' I want to be on a team where someone is going to be building a defense around me.”
That attitude is just poison. It has no place on this championship-minded team.
Five days into training camp, it's reality check time for Merriman. He needs to look into the mirror and ask himself, “Who am I?”
Is it the actor? The comedian? The businessman? The celebrity?
If the answer instead is teammate and football player, then realign that priority list and get to Chargers Park – now.