“Lights Out” San Diego Charger’s linebacker turns the switch on
They began calling him “Lights Out” in high school, after his explosive tackling style knocked out four guys . . . in one game. Not hard to imagine when you stand next to the San Diego Charger’s 6' 4", 260-pound linebacker who looks like he’s still wearing shoulder pads under his civilian clothes.
Shawne Merriman is big and with a 4.6 seconds clocking in the 40-yard dash, he’s fast. Just like the silver Mercedes-Benz G500 lurking in the garage of his house in an upscale San Diego, Calif., suburb.
With 24-inch wheels wrapped in performance rubber, it stands tall, like its owner, with a similar angular, muscular physique. It matches the profile of what an NFL linebacker would drive.
“I call it my monster,” Merriman says with a grin. “It’s my game-day military truck. I drive it to the game to get ready for war.”
Merriman shares his fondness for the G-Wagen with former NFL linebacker LaVar Arrington, a man he calls his “big brother.”
“I rode in his and said, ‘One day I’m going to get me one,’” he recalled. “Mine looks better. It’s my baby. My pride and joy.”
Merriman’s silver G500 sports a gray-suede headliner and seat inserts, plus headrests embroidered with the light switch that is his “Lights Out” logo. It matches the tattoo on his arm. Other personal touches added to the vehicle’s interior are a booming sound system, a DVD player with 10-inch drop-down screens for the rear seats, and an adapter that lets Merriman play his Apple iPod through the audio system.
On game days, the rumble of his music through the truck’s big speakers gets him in the mood for the game.
“Oh yeah! It feels like I could run it right into the stadium and park it on the 10-yard line.”
According to Merriman, the G500 not only has the size and speed of a pro linebacker, it also has the run-over-anything-that-gets-in-itsway attitude.
What Celebrity Car Magazine discovered in talking to “Lights Out” is that his light switch works both ways. He clicks it off on game days to become what he describes as “a warrior,” but when the lights are on, he is a bright, funny guy, who has worked hard to rise up from a rugged childhood to begin living his boyhood dreams.
“My interest in cars started as a kid when I looked in magazines and said to myself, ‘One day I’m going to get a chance to drive that car, or one day I’m going to get this car. I always knew if I worked hard, everything would fall into place and I would be blessed to be driving cars like these.”
You should note that Merriman is a Gemini, so he is born with an astrological light switch because it is the sign of the twins that can be very good sometimes and very bad at others.
“My bad side is on the football field and my good side is in everyday life. It’s pretty good to have a switch you can click on and off most of the time.”
He says that his other vehicles reflect the other sides of his personality. For example, he describes the black Mercedes-Benz CLS500 in his driveway as “my dress-up day, my classy car.”
Merriman also calls it his Batmobile (there’s that dual-personality theme again) because he envisioned it as sleek and black, with black-chrome 20-inch wheels.
Merriman also owns a modern-day muscle car in the form of a Dodge Charger, a blue one that is, with his number and logo on the rear panel. He calls it his “everyday muscle car” that he drives to practice and on daily errands. Because he needs the trunk space to carry his equipment, there won’t be any large subwoofers back there. The 22-inch wheels came with the car from the Dodge dealer.
Merriman also has a Dodge Durango, which he plans to use to carry around family members when they come out to visit.
He says that once he establishes himself in the NFL and has a bit more time for his car hobby, he plans to begin collecting classic convertibles from the 1950s and 1960s.
We know it should be worth coming back to see because he believes in the words of advice he has for others whose dreams might seem far off.
“Keep your dreams wide open because if you want it bad enough and you work at it, you will get it.” In other words, Lights Out is telling you to keep the lights on for your future. Who would want to argue with him about that?