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Ex-NFL star Shawne Merriman talks Jim Harbaugh to the Chargers, suggests splash hire for defensive coordinator

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Former NFL star Shawne Merriman hoped the Los Angeles Chargers would go after Jim Harbaugh instead of Bill Belichick, and he got his wish this week as the Michigan head coach landed with the NFL team.

Harbaugh agreed to become the Chargers’ next head coach, replacing Brandon Staley as the team finished with a 5-12 record and in last place in the AFC West. Harbaugh gets to take over an underachieving team and have them compete in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.

Merriman, who played for the Chargers when they were in San Diego, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that Harbaugh to the Chargers was a no-brainer.

“The truth is, it almost was the only way to go. It was too many things that made sense,” the three-time Pro Bowler said. “One, him playing for the Chargers, having a relationship with the Chargers already. Jim Harbaugh has been very vocal about what he thinks about Justin Herbert and his capabilities; he thinks he’s a great quarterback.”

“And then vice versa, Jim Harbaugh was looking to make that jump to the NFL. So, what better jump to make than you’re walking into a team that’s already established. It’s got superstars that just underperformed last year. This was just an underperforming team because of the lack of leadership, and now they got it.”

Merriman said the Chargers need to bolster the defense and the next coach needs to establish an identity on that side of the ball. Los Angeles was 24th in points allowed and 28th in yards allowed in 2023.


Jim Harbaugh drops back to pass

“Somebody’s that’s going to make them have an identity,” he said. “They had a huge, huge identity issue last year. You didn’t know who they were, what they were about. They didn’t establish any type of mentality. It was just a defense that was showing up and playing. So, that’ll be somebody that’s dominant enough. When I say dominant, I mean a strong enough personality, a strong enough mindset to come in and give these guys an identity right away.”

He floated a major name that he thinks would be a great hire for the Chargers if possible.

“I don’t know if this is a possibility or not, but if coach Mike Vrabel doesn’t get a head coaching job, I would do everything in [my] power to bring him in as a defensive coordinator because that would be the ultimate all-star team, all-star coaching staff,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s a possibility. I think maybe they wait it out. Mike Vrabel gets a head coaching job somewhere, but man, if that happened, I think [these] Chargers would go crazy.”

Asked whether he would consider the job if Harbaugh came calling, Merriman said he wouldn’t have the time to give the job the time and attention it would deserve.

Mike Vrabel vs Seahawks

Merriman is focused on Lights Out Xtreme Fighting 14. The MMA event takes place on Feb. 16 in Long Beach, California.

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