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49ers Visited With Shawne Merriman During OLB Search

Before linebacker Eric Bakhtiari got a shot to cling back onto an NFL roster with the San Francisco 49ers, the team met with someone much more established in the league. Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman visited with the 49ers on Wednesday, but Jim Harbaugh decided to go with the player with three regular season games on his resume rather than the three-time Pro Bowler.

Bakhtiari had been with the team until it cut the roster down to the 53-man limit, but San Francisco needed added depth and a roster filler when backup linebacker Clark Haggans was suspended for a violation of the substance abuse policy.

The quick look at Merriman, then, must not have been all that intriguing. Though he's only 28 years old and was once one of the most feared defensive players in the game, Merriman has struggled to remain healthy. He played with the Buffalo Bills in 2011 but only was good enough for five games.

Since 2008, Merriman has produced only five sacks, far from the double-digit seasons of sacks that he put up in his first three years in the league with the San Diego Chargers, who picked him 12th overall in the 2005 draft.

Knee and Achilles injuries have been the main causes for Merriman's struggles, and he was cut by the Bills this offseason after failing to even make himself into a backup defensive end. The 49ers taking a look might've just been that -- a look.

But with only about four full season of NFL football on his plate, you never know if he might have some gas left in the tank.

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