ORCHARD PARK, NY (WIVB) - It was a gamble from the beginning. But a worthy gamble for a team hoping to improve their defense. But the gamble of signing Shawne Merriman has not paid off for the Buffalo Bills. Tuesday, the team ended Merriman's season by placing the veteran linebacker on injured reserve.
It's the second straight season that Merriman's season has ended early with a spot on the teams injured reserve list.
“Shawne has worked extremely hard, but unfortunately, his Achilles flared back up and it doesn’t appear that he will be able to return to the field anytime soon,” said Bills General Manager Buddy Nix in a statement relesed by the team. “So we felt it was in the best interest of our team and for Shawne to put him on IR.”
On his personal website, Merriman indicated that his achilles tendon was on the verge of rupturing and he would require surgery.
“Due to the fact that I have recently been experiencing excessive aggravation in my Achilles tendon, which is a limitation that I have been dealing with for well over two years now, I sought the opinions of multiple medical specialists. After much consideration and unanimous professional recommendations stating that my Achilles is in danger of rupturing, I have been advised that it would be in my best interest to undergo surgery as soon as possible in order to prevent a major injury. I would like to thank all of my fans for their continued support on my road to a full recovery and am looking forward to getting back out on the field.”
Achilles tendon surgery usually involves almost a year of recovery.
After an encouraging start to the preseason, the oft-injured veteran began to break down. A shoulder injury slowed him early in the season. Then, a lingering achiles/calf injury problem popped up again a few days before the Bills played the Giants. Merriman missed that game, and was hoping the bye week would allow him to return.
But Monday, Chan Gailey said Merriman was not progressing as well as hoped. Now, the Bills have likely determined that Merriman would not be healthy enough to help them much, so they've ended his season.
The struggling Buffalo pass rush will now have to rely on a combination of other outside linebackers like Danny Batten, Arthur Moats and Spencer Johnson.
The Bills have only four sacks in six games, last in the NFL.
Linebacker Antonio Coleman has been signed off the Giants practice squad to take Merriman's roster spot. He was cut the Bills after the preseason.