SAN DIEGO, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman, who has been playing with a bad left knee, has decided to have season-ending surgery.
Merriman had planned to play out his contract year despite tears in the posterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his knee. He recorded just one tackle while assisting on another in the Chargers' 26-24 last-second defeat Sunday at the hands of the Carolina Panthers.
"Shawne informed me he did not feel right (on the field) and thought it best to shut it down," said Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith. "Shawne is a great player and an inspirational leader. He will be missed."
Merriman, a Pro Bowl selection in each of his three seasons in the league, had visited five specialists for opinions on his knee, all recommending reconstructive surgery.
Taken 12th overall by the Chargers out of Maryland in 2005, Merriman, 24, has 39 1/2 sacks in three seasons, including 12 1/2 in 2007.