This wasn't how Aaron Merz pictured his second season in the NFL. After seeing some spot duty at guard including one start against New England as a rookie in 2006, Merz was eager to compete for a more prominent role in 2007.
But a torn labrum in his left shoulder brought his second NFL season to a screeching halt as he was placed on injured reserve by the Bills Tuesday. Surgery for Merz is in the process of being scheduled.
"It was really based on his feeling about his shoulder and the condition of it," said head coach Dick Jauron.
Merz has had shoulder surgery once before when he had work done in December 2003 between his sophomore and junior seasons at Cal. But the interior lineman worked hard this past winter and spring to get his shoulder in top form for the rigors of NFL football.
"I came into camp feeling great about my shoulder actually," Merz told Buffalobills.com. "I had done a lot of strengthening and stability work in the offseason and from what I could tell it was as good as it's ever been."
But midway through training camp Merz was experiencing a lot of pain in his shoulder. An MRI was performed to inspect it. The labrum, which is the cuff of cartilage that helps to stabilize the shoulder joint, was torn.
"All the muscular strengthening I did didn't do anything to fix the tear in the joint," said Merz. "So I couldn't do anything about that. It was just a matter of seeing if it would hold up and seeing how much pain I could play with."
Merz attempted to play through the pain as he participated in a couple of practices before training camp came to a close at St. John Fisher, but in his estimation it wasn't going to work.
Rehabilitation from this kind of surgical procedure is usually between three to six months according to Merz.
"Obviously its season ending," said Merz. "But as far as next year I should be more than good to go."