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Bills take a shine to "Lights Out" Merriman off waivers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The winless Buffalo Bills have claimed former San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman off waivers, giving the NFL team a three-time Pro Bowl player known as "Lights Out" because of his hard hits.

The move to claim Merriman, who led the NFL with 39.5 sacks from 2005-07 but has been limited by injuries the past two seasons, came a day after he was waived by the Chargers.

"As we have said many times before, we are constantly evaluating our roster and will do things that we feel can improve our team," Bills general manager Buddy Nix said in a statement.

"We think Shawne can help our defense and so we have claimed him off waivers."

A knee injury forced Merriman to miss all of 2008 while foot and groin injuries troubled him the following season.

San Diego put Merriman on the reserve-injured list on October 13 with a "minor injury" designation, meaning the team would waive him once he became healthy.

Merriman was suspended in 2006 after testing positive for steroids and arrested and accused of battery in 2009, though no charges were filed.

He had five tackles in three games this season.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue)