Tal Pinchevsky (writer),
Jeffery Salter (photographer),
Kurt Iswarienko (photographer),
John Dole (photographer),
Douglas Garfield (photographer),
Roy Ritchie (photographer),
Joe Vaughn (photographer)
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
INKED: We heard you were pretty young when you got your first tattoo. What's the story?
MERRIMAN: I think I was 14 when I got my first tattoo. Me and a friend of mine did it with an Indian pen. We just jabbed at my arm until we made a mark. I knew my mother wasn't going to let me get a tattoo, so we said the hell with it. I knew if I got one, then she would have no choice but to let me get some more. She then took me to get another one. But she was pretty pissed. She cursed me out. She was not happy.
Fourteen? That's pretty young.
It was really young, but I knew she wasn't going to let me do it unless I did it myself.
How exactly did that go down?
Me and my friend, we just sat in my room for about two hours jabbing away at my arm. My next one, I got less than a year after. It was addictive once I got the first one.
Which tattoo is your favorite?
My "Lights Out" tattoo is my favorite because that's what I'm most known for. I had that one done back in Maryland when I was about 15 or 16, when people started calling me Lights Out.
What's the most recent work you had done?
The last work I had was on my stomach. I had a skeleton wearing a helmet with a demon on it. This guy was really good with skulls and really good with fire.
So you found an artist who was better than that friend who stuck a pen in your arm?
(Laughs) Yeah, I did. There was no Indian pen being jabbed in my arm 3,000 times.
You obviously do a lot of training and working out during the offseason. But what else are you up to?
I play a lot of video games. That's really it along with working out. I like war games. I like things that take a while to beat.
Anything we can expect from you this season?
A lot of head cracking. That's basically it.