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Merriman Speaks His Mind in the Latest Playboy 20Q

“I’m so dangerous right now I scare myself,” says Shawne Merriman in Playboy’s October 20Q, when asked about his rebuilt body (issue on newsstands and online at Friday, September 11).  The San Diego Chargers’ linebacker, nicknamed Lights Out for his ability to knock players out, is healthy and strong following knee surgery, and is ready to hit everything that moves.  “I’m 100 percent healthy for the first time since entering the league…Now I’m the strongest I’ve ever been…If you’re wearing a different-colored helmet than me, you’re in trouble.”

Merriman is proving he’s back and ready to bring the hurt.  Following are selected quotes from his conversation with Playboy Contributor Jason Buhrmester:

On the hardest players to hit: “Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.  They’re great quarterbacks, but they’re also very hard to get to.  They get rid of the ball quick; they make the right decisions.  It’s not always about your athletic ability.  There are some guys in the league who have more athletic ability than both of them, but Brady and Manning are so good.  It’s really hard to hit them.”

On the hardest hit he’s delivered in the NFL: “When I knocked out Priest Holmes.  That was probably the hardest hit, and from what I’ve heard, it was one of the loudest hits anybody has ever heard.”

On running into Priest Holmes after the hit: “I saw him two years ago at – of all places – the Playboy Mansion…It was awkward.  Because on the field, I’m a beast and a killer.  I’m going to try to get you by any means necessary.  But off the field, I’m not like that.  When I saw him I didn’t even know what to say.  I said, ‘What’s up?’”

On critics who have claimed his hits were illegal: “When I was in high school parents sent letters complaining that I shouldn’t be on the field with their sons, that I was an animal.  It was hilarious.  They stopped letting me hit in practice.  Whenever we had contact drills, they’d send me over to another field, where I would practice hitting dummies.”

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