Shawne Merriman was drafted in the first round in the 2005 NFL draft out of the University of Maryland. Merriman quickly made himself known as one on the quickest and dominant outside linebackers in the game. Merriman made 39.5 career sacks in his first 43 NFL games. He has 189 tackles, was the 2005 Defensive Rookie of the Year, and has been selected for 3 Pro Bowls. On October 22, 2006 Merriman was given a 4 game suspension by the NFL for testing positive for an anabolic steroid. I guess we know what helped make Shawne one of the most feared players today. His suspension has led to the NFL rule that no player that has tested positive for steroids can be selected to the Pro Bowl or given any performance awards in the year they test positive. Merriman makes $11.5 millions dollars a year playing football.
“It’s a brutal sport, but a lot of guys need to maximize our workouts,” Merriman said in a telephone interview.
Merriman said he had taken the supplement since he entered the league last season, when he was the N.F.L.’s defensive rookie of the year, and he had no problems with it. He estimated that he was tested seven or eight times before and during the season. He said he stopped taking the supplement this summer just before the preseason began. On Aug. 2, a few days into training camp, Merriman took his first drug test this season. He said he learned about Sept. 12 that the result was positive. Merriman said he had taken three tests since the Aug. 2 test and all three came back negative. He said nothing on the supplement’s list of ingredients indicated that it contained a steroid. Merriman said he stopped using all six of the vitamins and supplements he was taking as soon as he found out about the positive test.
“My health is more important than missing four games,” he said.
Merriman said the supplement was shipped to him at the end of last season, but he did not use it until he began to get into shape for this season. He added: “I have taken full responsibility for what happened to me and what has gone on. I came up clean plenty of times before and gained confidence in the supplement, and then all of a sudden it popped up that I was doing something wrong.” Although Merriman dropped his appeal, the league allowed him to visit the team’s practice facility today, because he wanted to address his teammates before the suspension began. Players are normally barred from team facilities for the entire time of their suspensions.
Above: Before and After pictures of Shawn Meriman.