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Buffalo Bills' Shawne Merriman Announces Retirement

"Lights Out" put in his retirement papers less than a week before he was set to become a free agent.

Brody Wheeler

Soon-to-be free agent Shawne Merriman has announced on his official website that he is retiring from professional football. Merriman spent parts of three injury-plagued seasons with the Buffalo Bills to finish his career which began with such promise in San Diego.

Merriman played just 15 games in a Bills uniform, recording two sacks and 18 tackles. (He had five games with the Chargers where he recorded more than two sacks.) Here is the full text of his retirement statement:

After a lengthy discussion with my agent, family, and team, I have officially decided to put in my retirement papers today. My retirement from the game I love so much and from the game that has brought me so many opportunities on and off the field has been decided with great thought for my future on and off the field. I retire today not because I don't feel I can go out there are still play my game at a very high level, I am retiring because I want to retire on my own terms and leave while I know I can still physically play the game. I am stepping back to pursue other great opportunities that have been afforded to me. I want to thank all my fans around the country. I want to thank the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills for their support during my time at each club. I feel truly blessed to have been a part of the NFL and to have had the opportunity of a lifetime. I am excited to pursue my other career opportunities and look forward to what is on the horizon for me. I will continue to train with some of the guys not because of football but because it's a part of my lifestyle.

He was hounded by a positive test for performance enhancing drugs while with San Diego in 2006 and he was never the same. After suffering through multiple leg injuries and rehab to try and get back on the field, he was never able to regain his All-Pro form.

The 29-year-old defensive end was scheduled to become a free agent on March 12.