Updated: April 12, 2014, 10:13 AM ET
ESPN.com news services
Shawne Merriman is going from the football field to the wrestling ring.
The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2005, Merriman has joined World Wrestling Enterainment, according to a report by SB Nation’s Testudo Times Blog.
It’s unclear what role Merriman will have with the WWE, the report said. But WrestleChat.net said Merriman will be an announcer while training to be a wrestler.
Merriman was part of the Wrestlemania pre-show on WWE Network last weekend.
WWE superstar Ray Mysterio recently posted a photo with Merriman on his Instagram account.
Kicking it with Merriman last night backstage before HOF! #chargers #bills #619er #futurewwesuperstar! http://t.co/XrNeYno9gR
– Rey Mysterio (@reymysterio) April 6, 2014
Merriman, a first-round pick in 2005 with the San Diego Chargers, combined for 39.5 sacks in his first three seasons, garnering the nickname “Lights Out” for his hard hits and aggressive demeanor.
A series of injuries, however, caught up to him, and he was particularly bothered by a sore right Achilles tendon. It’s an injury that led to the Chargers waiving him during the 2010 season.
The Buffalo Bills acquired his rights soon after, but Merriman never made it past his first practice in Buffalo after aggravating the injury. He was limited to playing five games in 2011 before being placed on injured reserve to have surgery to repair the partially torn tendon. He retired after the 2012 season.
Merriman was limited to 18 games over his final three seasons. And he finished with 45.5 career sacks in 75 games, including 59 starts.
Merriman also made headlines for his off-the-field troubles.
In 2006, he was suspended by the NFL for four games after testing positive for steroids. He blamed the positive test on a tainted supplement, which he never identified. Despite being limited to playing 12 games, Merriman finished with a career-best 17 sacks that season.
In 2009, Merriman was arrested just before the season after reality television star Tila Tequila accused him of battery and false imprisonment at his suburban San Diego home. No charges were filed, and Merriman and Tequila settled dueling lawsuits.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.