Shawne Merriman's career has been a case study in how unfortunate injuries can destroy a man's career. A three-time Pro Bowler in his first three years in the league, Merriman then suffered a long string of injuries and ineffectiveness that led to his retirement in March of this year.
In the NFL most of all, though, retirement is a temporary sort of thing. Merriman's an amped-up dude on his quietest days, the Atlanta Falcons are a team growing in popularity and the former Charger and Bill seems to be itching to come back. Add that up and here's what you get:
If you're like me, your first thought is that it's fun to see players actively lobbying to come to Atlanta. Then your second thought is "this dude is my age, hasn't played effectively in several seasons, was once suspended four games for PEDs and might be crazy." Then your third thought is, hell, why not?
At this stage of the game, bringing in a former Pro Bowler to see what he's got left isn't a bad idea. The Falcons tried this a year ago with Lofa Tatupu, which backfired badly, but there's very little harm in trying a dude with 45.5 career sacks out. The best case scenario is that he's healthy and has something left in the tank, allowing him to become one of those four sack guys the Falcons have been building around and taking a roster spot that would otherwise be filled by a less experienced player. The worst case scenario is that he's done, and you cut him loose before the season.
I don't think the Falcons are going to bring Merriman in, if I'm being honest, but I wouldn't particularly mind if they did. Would you?