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Gailey 'excited' by Shawne Merriman's offseason

MerrimanBy Tim Graham

Not that you'd ever expect Shawne Merriman to say "I'm struggling, bro," but the pass-rusher's continued confidence in his recovery from Achilles surgery is an encouraging sign for the Buffalo Bills.

"One hundred percent," Merriman said of how he feels after today's voluntary workout at One Bills Drive. "I feel very comfortable right now."

Bills coach Chan Gailey's opinion is more significant. He has been cautious in the past when speaking about Merriman's status.

But Gailey said this afternoon he was "excited about where [Merriman] is physically -- really physically and mentally because he's come out every day with an outlook that's just outstanding."

"He works hard. He looks quick. He looks healthy," Gailey continued. "That part of it has been refreshing for us, to see some what of I think we're going to see is the old Shawne Merriman this year."

Because this is a Merriman article, I'm legally obligated to point out Merriman recorded 39.5 sacks through his first three seasons with the San Diego Chargers, but has played in only 23 games and notched five sacks over the past four seasons because of recurring injuries.

"I feel very good," Merriman said. "I'm still working out just little things. I've not been playing football for a long time and just getting back comfortable with the game. That's one of my biggest keys, getting comfortable, especially playing a different position as well. I feel pretty good up to this point."

Merriman said his transition from a 3-4 outside linebacker, which he has played his entire career, to a 4-3 defensive end has been smooth so far.

"It feels like I'm right at home because even in some of the schemes we played in 3-4 we were in nickel, which is putting my hand in the dirt anyways," Merriman said. "It's just like I've been doing in the past."

(Photo: James P. McCoy/Buffalo News) 

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |