Tonawanda News


June 1, 2012

Lights on for 'Lights Out'

Rejuvenated Merriman full go for Bills on Wednesday


Tonawanda News —

The injuries — he also had minor shoulder surgery in November — have taken a toll on Merriman’s production. He’s managed just two sacks in his past three seasons, after registering 39 1/2 in his first three.

Merriman’s recovery has been on schedule, and he spent much of the offseason working out under the watchful eye of doctors and trainers in Florida.

The next step came Thursday in a non-contact practice that was closed to reporters. Though he’s easing himself back, Merriman is pleased with how practice went and how much better his Achilles feels.

“To go out there and do everything now, and get that push-off, get that explosion, things that made me the player I am in this league, it feels great,” he said.

That’s a switch from before, when he was slowed by injuries.

“I was in a position where I couldn’t go out and perform, I couldn’t go out and do the things I do best,” Merriman said. “I couldn’t explode.”

Merriman has the opportunity to be a valuable addition to a defense that’s been rebuilt this offseason with a focus on pressuring opposing quarterbacks. With Buffalo switching back to a 4-3 style of defense, Merriman will be part of a veteran core of defensive ends headed by Mario Williams, the team’s high-profile free agent signing, and rounded out by Chris Kelsay and Mark Anderson, another free agent addition.

“I know why they brought me here, and I know what I’m capable of doing for my team,” Merriman said. “The additions we made with Mario and Mark and all the other guys that came in, it’s going to be huge year. But we don’t want it to be a huge year on paper. We want to go out and who people it’s going to be a huge year on game day.”

Merriman has already set some personal goals, but is keeping them to himself. He’d prefer his performance do the talking.

“I’m really ready to go out there and show what kind of year I’m ready to have,” Merriman said. “The type of work that I’ve put in this offseason, my body’s ready to have that kind of year.”

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