Ten minutes with Shawne Merriman

Shawne Merriman returns to Maryland for the second time in his young career with the San Diego Chargers but this time he comes in as a player that every team is accounting for.

On his feelings about coming back to Maryland: "It is like coming back to home."

On whether he ever saw a Ravens' game when he was in college and his thoughts on Ray Lewis: "I think he is relentless. He plays for 60 minutes, and he is just a go-hard kind of guy. I enjoy watching him."

On the comparisons being made of Lewis and him: "I am coming in to win a game. On Sunday I have no friends, and I want to go in there and play as hard as I can."

On his success at age 21: "[I didn't think] about it until somebody brought it to my attention. I think [John] Madden said it during a game one night and from that point on everybody asked about it. [Before that] nobody knew I was 21. That's when I started to realize I was young."

On his transition from the ACC to the NFL: "I think that age and year really has no effect on how you play and how you come out. It is all about your mentality and how much you want to go out and dominate. I just had that mentality coming out."

On whether he is surprised by his success: "No, not really. I am not surprised; I am more pleased because that's the kind of work I put in during my offseasons in preparation so [I will] have seasons like that."

On comparing himself to Ray Lewis: "I have the same kind of relentlessness [as Ray Lewis] and movements on the field; I won't be stopped and no one can basically stop me from doing what I want to do. That's the kind of mentality I bring to the game. I play this game with emotion, I play this game with passion, and that's the only way I know how to play."

On watching and learning from Ray Lewis this Sunday: "Of course [I will watch]. I always enjoy watching him play. I watched him play for years, and being on the same field against him will be one of the highlights of my career."

On helping others in Maryland: "It is a real good feeling [to help]. I did so much work in that area and to be able to come back and do those things and give them a chance to watch me play is always a good thing."

On his plans when he returns to Maryland this weekend: "[I'm excited] that we are playing the Ravens. They are a good team and they will be a test for us. We are going to go out there and play them for 60 minutes of hard-nosed football. On top of that, I do get a chance to come home and play."

On whether this game is the first real test for the Ravens and the Chargers: "I think this may be our first test. I think that Oakland and Tennessee are pretty good, but this is a really good team and we are going to have to go out and prove that we are a good team as well."

On whether he played at M&T Bank Stadium while in high school: "No, I didn't get a chance to play there in high school."

On his pride in his work: "I was always like that. That [pride] is one of the things I was born with and someone couldn't bring that out in me because I already had it. That is really the only way I know how to do things. I have a lot of pride in the things that I do. I have the pride to not let a guy out there one-on-one beat me. As long as you keep that and bring that to the game, you should be fine."

On the Maryland football program today: "I just hope that they get everything back, and I think that they will. They are pretty young. They have to come back out and not have close games against the teams they really should dominate, and I think they will."

On whether he is following Maryland football: "Yeah, yeah definitely. I am a Terp for life; that's never going to change. I hope they get back to dominance."

On his popularity with the media: "I like to discuss [football] with people, especially because I can and [also] because I really like what I do and that is all part of it. I don't have a problem with [the media] at all."

On the influence of his background on his playing style: "I think [my background] did [have an influence]. It gives you a sense, like Coach Schottenheimer said, of pride and character from going through a certain amount of things and learning how to apply and put it somewhere and direct it toward something, and I have done that since I have been playing."

On appreciating his rise from humble circumstances: "I appreciate everything that has come to me because I have worked for it and I think I have earned it. That's when the real appreciation comes, when you have been through a lot and you work so hard to get something and you finally get it."

On making the playoffs: "Not just [making] the playoffs, but [I want] a ring ? a Super Bowl ring. The playoffs are step one to get to it. We definitely have our sights on the whole package and going to the Super Bowl. But, right now we have to take care of the Ravens first."

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