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Chargers' Merriman named defensive rookie of year

Updated: January 4, 2006, 2:54 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Shawne Merriman's relentless style of play made an immediate mark in the NFL, earning him The Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

The San Diego linebacker, known as "Lights Out" for his hard hits and aggressive demeanor, received 28 votes Wednesday from a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. He easily beat Seattle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who got 16.

All the players receiving votes played linebacker in some ...

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