Merriman finally signs with Chargers

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 8:42 PM ET

SAN DIEGO - Shawne Merriman is finally with the Chargers in training camp after signing his one-year tender contract.

Merriman, 26, was made a restricted free agent when the Chargers offered him the tender in the offseason. The linebacker was absent from camp until Friday when he joined the team for a walkthrough in preparation for Saturdays preseason opener against the Bears. Merriman isnt expected to be ready to play until at least the third preseason game versus Dallas on August 21.

We have bigger fish to fry, and thats to play the Kansas City Chiefs and get ready for them, Merriman was quoted as saying on the teams website in looking toward the regular season opener. Theres a point where you have to come in and get ready for the season, and thats what its about at the end of the day. You cant show up game one, game two and expect to be better. The only way to emulate football is to play football, and thats why Im here.

The Maryland product, taken with the 12th overall pick in 2005, is coming off an unspectacular year that saw him record four sacks in 14 games, this after a knee injury caused him to miss all but one game in 2008.

The 2005 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year was suspended four games for violating the NFLs substance abuse policy back in 2006. He logged 39 1/2 sacks over his first three years in San Diego.

The Chargers also announced Friday they have waived linebacker Ali Highsmith. The third-year pro recorded 13 tackles in 14 games last year with Arizona.