A big stink was made a couple days ago when Jason Taylor, Defensive Player of the Year candidate, stated on a conference call that Merriman shouldn't be in a position to win the DPOY award or go to the Pro Bowl becuase it sends the wrong message to kids. "You really shouldn't be able to fail a test like that and play in this league, to begin with," Taylor said Wednesday. "To make the Pro Bowl and all the other awards, I think you're walking a fine line of sending the wrong message."
Merriman, of course, shot back, "If I wasn't having the kind of season I'm having, this wouldn't even be a conversation," Merriman said. "The NFL will always have the level of integrity. That's what makes the NFL. In my situation, everything happened in an appropriate way. I sat out my four games, my money was taken away from me, my four games were taken away from me, and I came back and played my rear off."
Merriman has a point. Julius Peppers was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2002 despite being suspended for 4 games for the same indiscretion. There was no outcry then.
You can now add another DPOY candidate to the list of guys coming out against Merriman winning the award. Champ Bailey. I just don't like cheating in the game, there's no room for it," Bailey said Thursday. "I don't think there is any place for steroids or performance enhancers in the NFL."
Hey, for the record I agree that a cheat is a cheat, and there is no place in football for it. But I also beleive in the system, and Shawne Merriman did his time, and if was the best defensive player in the 12 games he'll play compared to the 16 games everyone else played then so be it.
I, for one, do not. Champ Bailey is my choice of DPOY, simply for the fact that a team can make the decision to take Bailey out of the game bu not throwing at him. In some cases they have, excpet for one or two throws and Bailey has made the most of thos opportunities. Even more impressive is the success Bailey has had given the style of play the Broncos' defense has employed.
Bailey does have some good points when it comes to Merriman. "After testing positive, I don't think he should be given anything this year," Bailey said. "I hope he didn't do it. I hope he took it unknowingly. I don't want to throw him under the bus any more than he already has been. I think he's a great player and I love talking to him. But I don't think guys who tested positive should win anything the year they test positive." I just hope it doesn't come across as sour grapes.