We see it every year.
Along with the initial joy and elation that comes with being drafted by the Chargers, the newest Bolts immediately think of the players they watched donning the same uniform they’re about to put on.
Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson always come to mind, but on the defensive side of the ball, nearly everyone thinks of one name – Shawne Merriman.
It’s easy to understand why.
To those growing up watching the NFL during their formative years, no one captured the hearts and minds of young football fans more than Merriman. His play on the field and “Lights Out” persona transcended the game.
Now, for one lucky member of the Bolts’ upcoming draft class, the person they grew up admiring is set to make his lifelong dream come true.
The NFL announced on Thursday that Merriman will be one of 64 legends who’ll announce a team’s second and third round pick live from Nashville, TN. The opportunity to reveal the Bolts’ pick means the world to the former star linebacker, who was humbled when the front office reached out to extend the opportunity.
“I was honored, to be honest, because there have been a lot of great Chargers,” Merriman said. “Guys that I’ve played with, and guys that came before me. So I get a chance to represent the organization, and also to change somebody’s life. There’s nothing like draft day.”
As Merriman alluded, few things in life compare to the moment a player is officially drafted. It’s truly a seminal moment, which is why he approaches the responsibility with the utmost respect.
“It didn’t seem real (when I was drafted),” he said. “I just remember getting the call and thinking about it being something I dreamed about when I was six, seven years old. I grew up watching some of my favorite football players on TV, and now I get to put on the same uniform and play in the same league. That day, you’ll never forget it from the time you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed. I can tell you every single thing that happened to me that day, detail by detail.”
Clearly, having someone of Merriman’s ilk announce his selection will clearly mean a ton to whoever the Chargers take in the second round.
Selected by the Chargers out of Maryland 12th overall in 2005, Merriman burst onto the scene with a rookie year for the ages. He totaled 57 tackles and 10.0 sacks his first year, earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in the process. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he paced the NFL with 17.0 sacks as a sophomore despite appearing in only 12 games. Overall, Merriman began his career making three straight Pro Bowls while also being a two-time first-team All-Pro (2005-06) and a second-team All-Pro pick (2007).
Every single player set to be a rookie in 2019 obviously longs to have the same level of success that Merriman had out of the gates.
However, Merriman cautioned it’s not something that’ll come easily. In fact, he offered the following words of advice to whoever he’ll eventually announce will be the Chargers’ second-round pick.
“Enjoy your day,” he said. “Celebrate with your friends, your coaches and family. Celebrate with everybody around, but as soon as that day is over, and you wake up in the morning, get ready and get to work. You won’t have a break, and the faster you get to work, the less you’ll have to do later to catch up.”