FOXBOROUGH -- San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman predicted victory for the AFCs top-seeded team on Sunday when it hosts the Patriots.
When asked during a conference call with the New England media today if he had any prognostications for the Chargers-Patriots matchup, the NFLs sack leader responded:
To come out with a W. Thats it. One point we win, a field goal, a safety, anything we get. One point we win. But obviously we want to come in and play 60 minutes of football and thats it.
Merriman, who had 17 sacks this season despite sitting out four games due to a steroid suspension, also backed away from the comments he made last Sunday on CBS during halftime of the Patriots 37-16 win over the New York Jets, when he predicted the Jets would win.
I thought that if the Jets were going to win it was going to be close in the first half and it was [the Patriots led 17-10], said Merriman. So, I thought the Jets had a chance to win it, but little did I know that [Tom] Brady had three Super Bowl rings and he doesnt lose against the Jets.
Merriman said he wasnt worried that his words would serve as motivation or bulletin-board material in New England.
"Not really. I was on the show as a commentator not as a player," he said. "Commentating-wise Im going to state my opinions, but that doesnt change the way that I go into the film room and I watch the New England Patriots and in the same way that doesnt change them watching Shawne Merriman.
Here is more from Merriman:
On his steroid suspension:
Like I said from day one it was a mistake on my part because I wasnt knowledgeable about banned supplements and substances. Its just that when youre doing something for so long you have confidence in doing it even though you dont know it until you get knocked, which is what happened to me. I took my suspension and I moved on.
On how Jason Taylor and the Miami Dolphins disrupted Brady and the Patriots:
"I dont think listening to any kind of sounds of the quarterback or audibles helped, but at the same time they got off the ball pretty quick and they moved around and made him make a couple of decisions that he didnt want to make and really couldnt make at the time and disrupted him from winning the game."
Is there anybody that can block you one-on-one?
I like to think no, the way I prepare for a game, the way I train and how I approach the game. Thats what this game is about is winning one-on-one battles and you cant be the kind of player you want to be unless you can beat a guy one-on-one. I had some battles this year but I had 17 sacks and I worked very hard to get them. Thats even facing some of the best guys.