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Merriman says he was protecting friend

Associated Press / September 8, 2009

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Chargers’ linebacker Shawne Merriman yesterday said he did not harm reality TV star Tila Tequila at his home early Sunday and added he was concerned for her safety because she appeared to be intoxicated.

Merriman was arrested and accused of choking and throwing Tequila to the ground as she tried to leave his home in suburban Poway, Calif. Tequila signed a citizen’s arrest warrant charging Merriman with battery and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.

Merriman spent about 2 1/2 hours in the downtown jail before posting bail.

Merriman practiced yesterday, then said he’s convinced he’ll be cleared. It will ultimately be up to the District Attorney’s office to decide if he’ll be charged.

“I think when it all surfaces, it will be a different situation. Period,’’ said Merriman, who described Tequila as an acquaintance.

In an unrelated but similar incident, Broncos rookie tight end Richard Quinn was arrested in Littleton, Colo., on harassment and domestic violence charges.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department said Quinn was arrested after a woman called 911. The woman told deputies her live-in boyfriend, Quinn, grabbed and shook her to the ground during an argument and grabbed the phone from her while she was trying to dial 911.

Sanders avoids PUP
Bob Sanders isn’t healthy enough to play yet but the Colts hope he’s back before mid-October. The Pro Bowl safety, who had offseason knee surgery, avoided opening the season on the physically unable to perform list, a move that would have kept him out six weeks . . . The Broncos waived fourth-year wide receiver Chad Jackson, who was acquired after the Patriots released him in August 2008.

Cassel returns
Quarterback Matt Cassel appeared on Kansas City’s practice field for the first time since injuring his left knee Aug. 29, but his status for Sunday’s opener at Baltimore remained unclear. The former Patriot injured his knee on the third play of the third preseason game against Seattle. Cassel did most of the conditioning drills in the short period the media were permitted to watch . . . Browns coach Eric Mangini has decided who his starting QB will be but won’t reveal whether Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson will get the nod before kickoff Sunday vs. Minnesota . . . Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick, won the Lions’ QB derby and will star Sunday in New Orleans, when Detroit tries to win for the first time in 21 months . . . Giants coach Tom Coughlin believes the only reason the Redskins signed QB Andre’ Woodson was to learn New York’s plays and audible calls before Sunday’s season opener.

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