Shawne Merriman was one of the most fearsome defensive players during his 8 year career in the NFL playing for the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills. The former Rookie of the Year and three time Pro Bowler recently penned a piece for The Player’s Tribune and in it, gave advice to first time Pro Bowlers that will be playing in Hawaii this Sunday.

Reminiscing on his first Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2005, he shared that he had a really a great time hanging out with fellow players, sipping on Super Duper Mai Tais and even having a playful scuffle with UFC star Chuck Liddell. With that said, he advised newcomers to enjoy the experience but not to party too hard, citing a rookie mistake he made that involved famed DJ/Producer Lil Jon.

By Friday, you’ll feel like you’re coasting through the week. You’ve had a few days at the pool. You’ve done the Pearl Harbor visit (which you absolutely should not miss). You’ve been out to the beach, out to eat and out to events with your family and the other guys and their families. You only have one more light practice Saturday morning before the game on Sunday. So come Friday night, you’ll think, I’m gonna go out tonight and have me a good time.

At least that’s what I did.

I was drinking Super Duper Mai Tais all afternoon at the pool, and that night, I went to the club.

They always have celebrity DJs out at the clubs for Pro Bowl week, and Lil’ Jon was DJing at the club I was at. So I introduced myself, and we started talking.

Then the shots happened … and they kept going and going.

So there I was, 21 years old, in the club, taking shots with Lil’ Jon, thinking, This is the best week of my life!


Ultimately, Merriman missed the final Saturday morning practice before the game, but fortunately for him, AFC head coach Bill Cowher didn’t stop him from playing in the Pro Bowl the following night.