Shawne Merriman did the right thing by deciding to have season-ending knee surgery Tuesday.
After watching the San Diego Chargers lose last week to the Carolina Panthers, it was evident that Merriman simply didn't have the same burst. What use is a player who isn't as good as he normally can be?
Merriman played with two bad ligaments, ligaments four doctors told him needed surgery, and he never should have balked at their suggestions.
He's too valuable a player, too young to risk more damage.
The competitive fire is one thing, but in the end being smart is the right thing. Merriman will be in the final year of his contract in 2009, so he's about to get paid. Having surgery, doing rehab, and getting back to the same Merriman is the right move.
One game told Merriman what four doctors couldn’t convince him of, which is fixing the problem is far more important than playing through the pain.
The Chargers will feel his loss in a big way. He's one of the few defensive players in the league that require special attention. Second-year linebacker Jyles Tucker, who the Chargers gave a new contract this summer, will take over as the starter. He got $6 million in guarantees, even though he played in only six games last season.