The Chargers announced Thursday that the franchise will move to Los Angeles, thus ending its 56-year run in San Diego.
The city, needless to say, is in mourning.
“It feels like a death in the family that hasn’t really hit you just yet,” former Chargers Pro Bowler Shawne Merriman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I was in San Diego (Wednesday) and I was driving back (Thursday) and it kind of hit the media for the first time and it was a shocker. Not a shocker that it happened, it was just more of the way it happened and how fast it happened and it being real.”
Merriman, who played for the Chargers from 2005-10, was optimistic that the Chargers would stay in San Diego.
“I was always hopeful,” he said. “I’ve been working closely with the process along with some of my former teammates and past Chargers before my time. We were all hopeful that it was a possibility that it was going to stop. I would say these past six to eight months, maybe within a year, I started getting to feel that it was a little bit more far apart than we all thought it was. The first time they had the vote, we saw how big of a difference or how far that gap was to make it happen, and it started to kind of sink in just a little bit. But when you wake up in the morning and it’s everywhere and now you know it’s for sure and it’s locked in, that’s when it hurts the most.”
Last November, the Chargers failed to pass Measure C, which would have helped fund a $1.8 billion downtown stadium and convention center. Only 43 percent of voters supported the measure.
One must wonder if the 57 percent who said no feel regret.
“I don’t think it’s regret,” Merriman said. “I think a lot of fans in the community were exhausted over the back and forth of what’s going to happen, what’s not going to happen, and it doesn’t help when your team is not winning. We’ve all heard it over and over again: winning cures all. So when you’re not winning games and you have so much talk about the team leaving, it’s just not an exciting time to be a part of. So you have a very, very small percentage of people saying, ‘I’m just glad we got an answer.’ But the vast majority of people in San Diego are hurting right now. They’re stung a little bit.”