Shawne Merriman discusses the long road back from an Achilles injury in NFL

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Former Maryland Terps and NFL pass rush star Shawne Merriman discusses his Achilles injury and a tough first week in the NFL with the loss of Aaron Rodgers in New York and J.K. Dobbins here with the Ravens. His next Lights Out MMA card is on October 7 on FUBO.


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Shawne Merriman, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

Looking back at W n s t Jasper Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are positively celebrating our 25th anniversary we’re releasing our wn S T stories of glory it’s all brought to you by our friend security own foreign daughter got a big segment about cannabis so wellness and education this week with our newest sponsors as well and find it out of Baltimore positive. We’re also doing the Maryland crabcake tour with the Maryland lottery win donation and our newest sponsors and Jiffy Lube. We’re doing that on Friday, we’re going to be fadeless and then next Thursday Coco’s I have the cocoa shirt on this guy knows a Maryland crab cake even though for me anyway south of Colombia you get down there to Laurel you know Lanham gig you know, it’s it’s DC it’s, they say DMV, that’s the Cetus is Baltimore but I know this guy got some crabcakes down there at the University of Maryland he’s now I don’t know probably eat sushi or something out on the West Coast when he’s around. You know him as the likes out linebacker defensive end sensation of the one time San Diego Chargers and of course the Maryland Terps and promoting MMA and his MMA company and talking some get after the quarterback and some Achilles as well. We welcome Shawn Merriman Our defending champion Hey, how did the last the last matches go for you? I know you have another car coming up on October 7.

Shawne Merriman  01:16

Yeah, yeah, we got a huge car coming up lifetime extreme fight and 11 will be up in Long Beach and people can watch us on football TV football sports we just we crossed over 75 plus percent and viewership numbers we just jumped into the top five I think would football sports. And these are the next upcoming superstars man like that. That to me is why I got into the business and why I started running the running organization and why we launched because we wanted to get these next up and coming guys and opportunity to be seen before they make it to stardom right like they’d be you know that that part of it was missing in the sport. I’m glad that the fighters now are reaching all over the country man to come and see us get on a card and come fight and so people watch more football.

Nestor Aparicio  01:58

Well, I’ll tell you what, it’s you’re in a growth sport. But once this once they roll this football out so different this year for us because the baseball team, we’re playing baseball in October here we got a big series here. So I mean, in your youth, you remember all that with Cal Ripken and whatnot. But once football starts, I mean, it is they’ve got that commercial they’re running now, which is a little sketchy given the gambling situation and can it be scripted or it’s unscripted? I mean, Aaron Rodgers thing just things like a Steeler staking and Joe burrow not being any good. And the lions beaten the chiefs and then and the Jets winning. I mean, the Cowboys blown out the judge. It’s like, it really is a soap opera once this thing gets started, and it’s just everything else pales in comparison. It really does. Well, you know,

Shawne Merriman  02:42

obviously me being in combat sports don’t have an organization, we all know that football will be king. And it always will be especially here in this country. But you know, and because I played I understand why Right? Like you’re emotionally attached to what’s going on. You know, you’re mostly attached to your favorite team, your favorite player. And so you see a guy like Aaron Rodgers go down on the fourth play the game and you’ve like been waiting this whole offseason, you’ve been watching hard knocks. You’ve been you know, hearing all the stories and tuning in, and your favorite player goes down. You know, the first game of the season for you know, four snaps in. You’re emotionally invested in what’s going on, man, I’m even watching that game. I mean, he runs out there with the flag for 911. And the lights are going and I’m sitting there I’m shaking. I mean, this is a emotional thing, even for me as a former player, so I can only imagine what

Nestor Aparicio  03:32

a fan feels like. You know, I started covering the Ravens in 96. And Rob Burnett was my first friend on the team. He ate with me at Hooters the day they announced the name of the team before they announced named a team actually, he was on the junket from Cleveland to come over and he got hurt really, really bad crushed up. And I covered baseball, I played baseball, I’ve been around hockey players that had been injured and stuff. But seeing him on crutches, you know, at that period of time and seeing your livelihood seen what happened to Todd heap, who I knew pretty well, who had a hard time getting back on the field. And then you know, even Joe Flacco having to take it away and sitting and talking to him about All right, you’re trying to come back even after you win a Super Bowl and prove yourself again, and be what you used to be Tom Brady. He’s won won five Super Bowls since the really bad injury. I mean, like amazing, but getting your headspace around it. I know. This is something that you dealt with. I had never dealt with until 2006. In my adult life. I lost a finger when I was a kid. But just spending a summer not being able to move and wondering when you’re gonna move again and have it it hurt like hell. It didn’t take away my salary. It changed my hope I was 38 years old Sean I’ve been doing sports my whole life. Once I saw like, Polish, you know, like, you know it, every part of it sucks. And you’ve been through this.

Shawne Merriman  04:52

Yeah, and it’s the toughest thing to do. Right because the expectations the offseason workouts, you’re the promises to your team. I don’t know if it It feels Sarsgaard, the wide receiver there who Aaron Rodgers came and says Sorry, can apologize. I mean, it’s a lot of things is behind the scenes, I think and the craziest part is when I hear people say, Oh, well, he’s still making 20 million this year, we still you can replace that fill in the going out there with your teammates, in getting hurt, led and feeling that feeling of letting them down, letting the fan base down. And now you’re a rehab, Washington going out to practice every day. There’s nothing you can do to help write a good a bad game, you can’t get in and help your teammates. There’s no feeling like that. And what the Achilles expecially. What are Rogers? This is a long road to recovery. You know, I hurt when I blew my Achilles,

Nestor Aparicio  05:40

give me your story, when and where did yours happen?

Shawne Merriman  05:43

I had a partial a partial tear. And it was the same kind of thing that Richard Sherman had when he tore his Achilles, you get a partial tear was about a 30 or 40% tear, I wanted to go see Ron Anderson in North Carolina, who was one of the best foot and ankle doctors in the country. They didn’t want to do surgery on me until it was more than 50 or 60%. They were almost wanting it to be a clean snap like Aaron Rodgers had because you can go to go in and fix it right away. Mine was happening gradually, right? It tore 40% 50% And it got up to about 75 or 80% definitely went in and did it. But you can fill that thing pop and you could fill it fill a turn when Aaron Rodgers got up and then kind of bring you into the psyche of what happens with this Achilles injury. When he got up the first time. He didn’t know Right? Because it just feels like you’ve been kicked. And that that that ligament from the heel detaches from your heel and then rolls up into your calf. And so when it happens, it just feels like someone kicked

Nestor Aparicio  06:39

me hurt like hell just talking about it like it is

Shawne Merriman  06:42

it’s not painful initially, but it just felt like someone kicked the hell out of you. In fact, when it happened to me, I was chasing Michael Vick when he was there with the with the Eagles. And I sat on the ground looking around and it was nobody near me 15 yards I thought one of my teammates did kick me. And so you have that feeling you stand up, you realize that it’s a serious injury, your foot drops straight down, it doesn’t have a ligament to pull it back up. So I’ve just I sympathize with Aaron Rodgers because of the pressure and the responsibility that he had with that team organization and him getting paid finally getting out of Green Bay. I sympathize for him or that the only thing is I think he’ll come back if he really wants to go and play again and not hang it up. I think he’ll be completely fine.

Nestor Aparicio  07:28

Shawn Merriman is our guest we’re going to talk some MMA I’m certainly gonna talk some Terps he watches the Terps every week as well. You mentioned you know, Achilles injuries. We got JK Dobbins here over the weekend, you talked about getting paid or not getting paid. You went down that road to making sure you get paid for what you do so you can do these things that you’re enjoying later in life after your retirement appointees running backs, man, you know, I mean, Chad recently is a local agent here I sure you know, champion a tough guy to here locally. I had him out for a crab cake on our tour. And he was the Josh Jacobs working on that deal with running backs get screwed amongst all the guys. I mean, all you guys play hard, and there’s an investment mentally, spiritually, physically for lifespan, all of those things for your families. But the running backs I mean, and to have this happen to this kid again here. I mean, I saw people in tears here.

Shawne Merriman  08:21

I understand it. There’s nothing like coming back from major injury and and having another major injury. Because you’ve worked so hard that rehab process is grueling that therapy that the pain that certain days you don’t want to get out of out of bed because you’re just you have so much pain, you’re all these thoughts about whether you can even still play again if you do play again, well, you have a play at that level. And you finally get back there and then you go out and have what he had without Achilles and it’s such high hopes man like even me it’s kind of a former player and watching what they’re building with the Ravens I was I couldn’t wait for JK dub I couldn’t wait to see him want to feel healthy and what he was going to be able to do to that team so I know this this the psychological fight that you have with yourself on a day in and day out basis when those things happen. He I’m sure some days he’s now at this point for sure. He’s like man, it’s just not for me, right? This ain’t this not in the stacking the deck of cards for me and I’m sure he’s thinking about retiring moving on and I plan that goes through your mind it goes through everyone’s mind. So I always sympathize when I see guys like that. You know, we’ll make it back and have something like this happen.

Nestor Aparicio  09:27

So for you week one, you had a lot of week one some wins and losses, some big wins, big losses, whatever. We we wait all year for this, right? This is the hardest week of the year because you’re either thumbs up and your thumbs down for a week from the Ravens perspective mean you know they win the game, but it’s like oh, you know, like, complete Pyrrhic victory here. I mean, the center the left tackle the safety the running, but everybody’s banged up trying to get Andrews back out on the field. And there’s just that Cincinnati, they got their ass kick. You know, Pittsburgh got THRASS kicked him There’s there’s places where you feel like I don’t know that we’ve ever felt worse about week one when around here than we did with the injury report this week.

Shawne Merriman  10:08

Yeah and that’s always the scariest thing my first of all though, the week one is the toughest because you’re it’s unexpected we don’t have a lot of film on the status most starters don’t play during the preseason. So the first time we get a chance to see what that team actually is capable of doing is week one right and so now you’re all excited to team one but one at what cost right five five guys injured one a couple of guys this down for the year or a long period of time like you got to go through those emotional battles they gotta figure it out. And you know, there’s always going to be talk about the preseason and more games I’ve seen some coaches coming out saying that maybe they should have more priests like this a longer period whatever that is. At the end of the day football is football you cannot stop those injuries from happening especially some freakish what you know everybody’s injury that can happen to anybody and that standpoint in that position he got put in JK Dobbins same thing that can happen you can explode off of that Achilles that and Achilles can go at any point. I don’t care if you had 10 preseason games, you already had that Achilles can go How do I

Nestor Aparicio  11:11

feel was trash. I just want to point that out. That’s

Shawne Merriman  11:15

no doubt about it. No doubt about the field was trash. I mean, no, no doubt about that. And I think that there’s going to be some serious conversation here with the NFL coming up saying, Hey, guys, listen, we know that the cost benefits of having a turf and it’s concerts here and we’re saving, you know, $5 million a year or whatever that number is, but when you got a franchise quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, going down a fourth play the game, you got to at least look at it. JK Dobbins on some of these guys is going down with season ending injuries. Is that saving that three to $5 million a year and upkeep? Maybe it’s a lot more, I’m just throwing a number out there. Is that is that upkeep a lot worse than your stock guy going down and I wouldn’t I wouldn’t debate that.

Nestor Aparicio  11:55

Shawn Merriman is here. He still watches the Terps as well as my first drink. Thanks for I get the Terps and even your sport. How old are you now? 39? Yeah, I was gonna say I thought you might have been a little older man, you’re in a hell of a shape and what are you like? Are you training to fight doing that sort of training? Like what where are you at this because you look like you could come back and I could get 1214 snaps out are you getting after the quarterback?

Shawne Merriman  12:20

You know, I’m making a joke up and I’m good for 20 Plus snaps a game if I really wanted to. But you know, for me, man, look, I think they’re making that transition to combat sport because I trained with a lot of the fighters. When we get off here, I’m going to spar, you know, a couple of professional boxes here in a couple hours. I just like that discipline, right? I’m a I’m a 535 o’clock in the morning. 530 waking up every single day I’m in the gym doing this and I’m working all day. I think I just think that transitioning because I’m so used to a regimen that’s all I know is that

Nestor Aparicio  12:50

so important for guys that retire, right?

Shawne Merriman  12:53

No doubt about it. You You look like

Nestor Aparicio  12:55

you’re still playing and I see other guys. No offense on the Ravens had a reunion last week. Some guys look really skinny or used to be big and they look fit some guys the other way. So some guys a little dough who are smaller guy. Like, there’s no basis for all of your world class athletes when you’re 2325 28. I mean, it’s harder as you get older for all of us. You know it is

Shawne Merriman  13:17

it is but it’s more so a bit consistent, right? Like, I’ll never be as strong as I was, I’m never going to move like I used to feel all the time is gonna kick all of our assets at some point in time. It’s gonna get us but you can for sure prolong it by just taking care of yourself and being consistent.

Nestor Aparicio  13:32

Well, I’ll tell you what, what stays consistent. You watch church play and coach LOCKSS Danner trying to make this thing happen. Yeah. Interesting game early in the season. You never know how you know, the big 10 is big 10. But where are you in all of this in regard to the kid from Hawaii coming in and quarterbacking, which wasn’t really the way it worked at Maryland for a long period of time. And the fact that the NFL money’s there. I mean, there there’s a possibility here for things to change, you know, at a place like Maryland for a thing like football and basketball.

Shawne Merriman  14:04

Yeah, no doubt about it. And you know, I was one of the guys that’s lobbying to get Mike Locksley back there a long time ago. I’ve always said that. When he was running back coach day, he was a big part and a big reason why I went to University of Maryland at Vernon Davis and EJ Anderson to quote Jackson, you name it. He was a big part of us going in because we all trusted him not only as a coach but someone that you maybe look up to as a uncle right or Big Brother or something like that. And you just had that feeling. I always said this. If the DMV kids from DC, Maryland, Virginia, they stay home the top players Maryland can play with anybody in this country, period. You know, those guys that leave leave the state leave the area and go to Penn State of Florida State of Florida. You know, these Alabama they go to these other schools is kind of breaking everything up because of being held deal because Alabama was able to offer more money they got their access more money, but Maryland has a shot right now you’ll look at the team what look what they did last year. They just got to go out and win the games. They’re supposed to win, right? You’re supposed to be Charlotte, you’re supposed to be talented. You’re supposed to be last year when they dropped against Northwestern to Purdue and like, you’re supposed to win those games. The games that is going to be in the middle that is going to be tough are the Michigan’s are the Ohio States, those games, you know, you’re going to be in a physical battle and you got to win one of those bigger games in order to get the notoriety that you’re looking for as as a programmer, but if you’re not excited about the church right now, maybe you just I don’t think you got to pause I mean, they got a real shot with a team that they have to wait quarterbacks is crossed over the 8000 yard mark the first quarterback in history at University of Maryland to do that they’ve got something special they did they just need to go and handle business.

Nestor Aparicio  15:42

Well, you’re handling your business with the MMA. You got the ecard coming up on October 7 we couple couple of weeks from now in the NFL parlance. Tell me about where the sport is. You know, I see stockmarket stuff and I see crossover stuff and the wrestling worlds change the boxing worlds change you’re in this space to be as you said maybe a first step for some of these guys but I know you’re looking to grow your business as well and that’s this you don’t see a ceiling on this no is

Shawne Merriman  16:12

no ceiling and you know I’ve never gotten into the debate about you know trying to be UFC I think that us offering these guys an opportunity to get there is really cool for us and more importantly man I’m fan oriented I always been fan first in the fans will tell us what they perceive as being in this in this sport, right which level organization would it kind of put us at? We want to keep the throne you know delivering great fights on football. You know these numbers that we have on football the fans are telling us exactly that. Hey, you guys are doing a good job. We’re watching more we’re paying attention to these upcoming guys. So we got we got a big card October 7 will be live on fubo at 7pm Pacific

Nestor Aparicio  16:52

no pay per view this is food Yeah, this

Shawne Merriman  16:55

is the football it’s been football sports. You guys don’t have football get it they got this new multiview that’s super cool. You can watch like three or four things at one time. They got a lot of other cool programs on there. And you know what’s the crossover to the top five top 10 most watched football sports of all time that you know they’ve been around for almost eight years right international soccer so to be up there with those guys is saying a lot.

Nestor Aparicio  17:17

So I see the main event Morales and Tala for tell me about these young guys because, you know all these guys have a story. And you know, I always talk about the gladiator gladiatorial nature of of what you do and that it’s not necessarily always appealing to me the violence, but these guys train so hard and they’re working their way up. I mean, you got a poster there on it. There’s a there’s a real story behind these two people.

Shawne Merriman  17:43

No 100% So I bought Morales for the UFC before he’s been there. He’s a veteran. I’ve trained with both of these guys but Musa and Oliver and I normally stay out of the matchmaking side of it unless I know there’s bad blood unless I know that a gym doesn’t like another gym a manager doesn’t like another manager that’s when I’ll get involved and say hey, I know these guys I know these gems I know these managers I noticed Bad Blood those are the fights that you want to put together you know they’re gonna throw down and get after for the fan so we got you know Tommy Aaron is on his card as well who is a vet? We’re man we’re really really stacked up got a we’re gonna knock a couple of former athletes football players a guy on AJ who played at Oregon play linebacker at Oregon. He’s gonna be fighting as an amateur we can’t find a fight for this guy because nobody wants to fight him. So my goal is to transition more these former football players NFL guys over to lightside extreme fighting man that was that was a mission of mine getting into this sport long time ago.

Nestor Aparicio  18:42

Well not just the NFL guys guys who maybe don’t make the NFL or

Shawne Merriman  18:47

you got you let me tell you you got some world champions right now playing for the SEC that won’t have a shot at the NFL right? only play one or two years. Say you know what? My time is done here. I’m not gonna make it. I’m still physically fit. I want to go compete in something else. And now there’s real money in this sport, real opportunity. That’s where you’re seeing these guys making the transition now.

Nestor Aparicio  19:05

Lights out extreme fighting. It is on fubo sports. It’s fu B O lights at 11 It’s Saturday, October the sevens. Thunder studios thunder in Long Beach. Hey, man, you’re you’re like, way younger than me you Richard Pryor guy. I am I am you know Richard Pryor did the whole thing in the red suit of say going to Long Beach. Long Beach on October long beach is beautiful man. I you know, I drove down there down the one down to tour de Huntington. And you know, I tell anybody, it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth that part of the world is making that drive from LA down to San Diego on the coast and but you’re in Vegas, right?

Shawne Merriman  19:45

I’m in Vegas, obviously. Cuz I still do a lot of work with the Chargers. I’m in LA a lot. But I’m everywhere. Man. I’m on a plane every five to seven days. I’m in Missouri, Saturday at the PBA the rodeo on Double Bass Fishing pro got a bunch of beans going to the going to the big show there. So I’m a wherever airport is that’s where I live.

Nestor Aparicio  20:07

He’s been Shawn Merriman and he stops everything Saturday whenever the Terps kick off to watch the Terps play lights out fighting. It’s October the seventh the fights Morales and Oliver it’s on fubo and you can learn more at lights out x and you can find us at Baltimore positive. Appreciate your show. Thanks for stopping by crabcakes sometime soon. Mariela crabcake tour gonna be a fade. These are Friday. It will be Coco’s on Thursday, and we are at the nest on Friday night celebrating Oriel baseball in all of its glory. First place glory we’ll be there having some booze, wearing some black and celebrating Adam Jones with your Adam Jones letter up at Baltimore positive as well. Bringing the fun back for baseball and the Ravens are in Cincinnati. Stay with us.

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