Sports Outside the Beltway

Shawne Merriman Suspended for Steroids

Shawne Merriman has gotten caught taking steroids and has been suspended four games.

Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman has been notified he will be suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s steroids and related substances policy, league and team sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. Merriman’s positive test was “definitely for steroids … not one of those supplement deals,” said a source with knowledge of Merriman’s suspension. Both the initial A sample and backup B sample came back positive, Mortensen reported.

Merriman, 22, was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year last season and started in the Pro Bowl after recording 54 tackles and 10 sacks. He also finished with five passes defended and two forced fumbles. Through six games this season, Merriman was second on the Chargers with 5½ sacks.

The San Diego linebacker has acquired the nickname “Lights Out” for his hard hits and aggressive demeanor.

“Shawne, of course, he’s something,” Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer said after Merriman won top honors for first-year players. “He’s an extremely talented young man who brings it every snap. … He’s very, very competitive.”

Merriman’s suspension originally was to be announced last Tuesday when two other NFL players — the Falcons’ Matt Lehr and the Lions’ Shaun Rogers — were suspended for violating the policy. But Merriman reserved the right to appeal his suspension, so it was not announced.

The cheater’s Rookie of the Year trophy should be revoked, too. What a disgrace. Frankly, four games is a ridiculously light suspension for cheating; it’s the same as he’d have gotten for getting caught smoking marijuana.

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