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LA Chargers countdown to 2020: Best number 56 in team history

LA Chargers (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
LA Chargers (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
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Counting today, there are 56 days until the LA Chargers are back in action.

The 2020 NFL season might seem like it is up in the air at this point but we are still excited to hopefully welcome the LA Chargers back. Counting today, we have 56 more days until the Chargers’ scheduled Week 1 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.

To count down the 2020 season, we have been naming the best players to wear every number that coincides with the number of days remaining until the Bolts are back in action.

We are down into the 50s, which is an iconic group of numbers for the Bolts. The Chargers have a really good history of linebackers, making the 50s arguably the best number set to date (and we have not even gotten to the elephant in the room yet).

The best number 56 in franchise history was an obvious choice and without even seeing the featured image any Charger fan could guess who it is. He had one of the most dominant starts to a career, ever, and remains one of the biggest “what ifs” in franchise history.

The best number 56 in LA Chargers history: Shawne Merriman

Lights out.

Shawne Merriman is one of the most electric players in Chargers’ history and is a fan-favorite among many for his role on the team during the successful mid-2000s. In fact, Merriman made it to the final four in our all-time fan-favorite bracket in March.

IT IS THE FINAL FOUR

The semi-finals of the #Chargers biggest fan-favorite tournament is now live. Voting will be threaded below, and remember, you are voting for your favorite player in each matchup, does not have to be the more talented player. pic.twitter.com/0yQfY9d90X

— Bolt Beat (@BB_Chargers) April 1, 2020

The Chargers selected Merriman with the 12th overall pick in the 2005 and he quickly made his case as the best player to come from a draft class that also included Aaron Rodgers. Merriman was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year, recording 10 sacks and being named to the Pro Bowl.

Merriman continued his dominance by leading the league in sacks with 17 (in just 12 games) in his second season and then followed suit with 12.5 sacks in year three. Through three seasons, Merriman was a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro (two-time first team, one-time second team).

RELATED: Legendary numbers that deserve to be retired

Merriman’s dominance was historic. Merriman’s 39.5 sacks through three seasons was the fifth-most of all-time, trailing just Reggie White (52), Derrick Thomas (43.5), Aldon Smith (42) and Dwight Freeney (40).

If Merriman would have played 16 games in 2006 with the exact same pace of sacks then he would have finished that season with 22 sacks, putting him at 44.5 and second all-time through three seasons behind arguably the best to ever do it (if not 1B behind Lawrence Taylor).

Unfortunately, injuries derailed Merriman’s career. Knee issues followed Merriman throughout his career and he was never the same again. He recorded just six more career sacks after his first three seasons.

Next. Best number 57 in team history

Regardless, “Lights Out” was the most dominant pass-rusher in the league from 2005 to 2007 and is by far the greatest player to wear the number 56 in LA Chargers’ history.

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