Merriman holds tongue at criticism from Bears

SAN DIEGO -- Shawne Merriman doesn't want to get drawn into a verbal exchange with the Chicago Bears.

The defending NFC champions haven't been shy about goading Merriman in advance of Sunday's season opener at Qualcomm Stadium.

"I would like to say a bunch of things," Merriman said Friday. "And that starts all the way to the top and all the way to the bottom. Things have been directed at me and toward my team. But for the sake of this team and what we're trying to accomplish, I haven't said anything. I don't know how long that can last, but I still keep trying."

BearsPro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher criticized Merriman earlier in the week about his "Lights Out" sack dance. Urlacher said if Merriman does it after good plays, he should do it after bad ones.

Actually, Merriman said he might not do it for a while.

"Do all the talking you want," said Merriman, the NFL sack leader last year with 17. "On Sunday you don't have to talk no more - you just go out and do it and what you are doing will do the talking for you. That can stop their talk."

The Chargers had the NFL's top record last year at 14-2; the Bears were the NFC's best at 13-3.

Both squads are eyeing a return to the playoffs, with the Chargers seeking their first playoff win since the 1994 season.

Getting back to the playoffs - where they had a major pratfall against the visiting Patriots last January - is the Chargers' goal. Merriman said the Bears' yapping doesn't add to that.

"It doesn't get me any more motivated," he said. "But I hear it and I see it. I'm like an elephant in that I don't forget these things."

Considering what the Bears have accomplished recently, Merriman said the comments surprised him.

"They sound like guys who haven't been there before," Merriman said. "It's like a lot of needed self-motivation and team-motivation, but not for us. If you want to talk, go ahead and talk. We'll let you do the talking, but its hard not to say something back."

The Chargers enter the game in good health.

Backup running Michael Turner (ankle) worked a full practice Friday, although coach Norv Turner said he isn't sure if Turner will return kicks Sunday. If not, the role falls to Darren Sproles. Also, rookie linebacker Anthony Waters returned to practice after being absent Thursday for the funeral of his grandmother in South Carolina.

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