COLLEGE PARK, Md. – NFL All-Pro and former Maryland standout Shawne Merriman held his annual Coat Drive on Saturday, Nov. 23, prior to the Terps game against Boston College.
Over the past 11 years, Merriman and his Lights On Foundation have collected over 20,000 coats to benefit numerous communities in the DMV area.
Merriman partnered with the Maryland athletics department, University Relations and DOTS (Department of Transportation Services) and was joined by Maryland student-athletes to collect gently-used coats, hats, scarves and other cold weather clothing at all entrances of Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
“This cause means a lot to me as I was the victim of two house fires as a child and was left homeless as a result," said Merriman. "I am extremely grateful to the university and those that helped facilitate this coat drive over the years to further the Lights On Foundation mission.”
Merriman enjoyed a distinguished career at the University of Maryland, where he was tabbed a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection after his junior season. He totaled 189 tackles, 22 sacks and 32.5 tackles for a loss in 39 career games with 17 starts. Originally selected in the first round (12th overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, Merriman was a three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection with San Diego prior to joining the Buffalo Bills in 20101. In his eight NFL seasons, Merriman notched 45.5 sacks in 75 career games (59 starts).
A native of Washington, D.C., Merriman was honored as the Associated Press Maryland Defensive Player of the Year as a senior out of Frederick Douglas High School in Upper Marlboro.
Merriman’s Lights On Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for youth and to help the homeless. He donates time, money and other resources throughout the country by increasing opportunities for children to lead healthy and fulfilling lives through his foundation. By building corporate partnerships within the community, Merriman is able to provide financial assistance to projects focusing primarily on helping the homeless and children in need.