|Date of birth:April 19, 1985|
|Place of birth: Portsmouth, Virginia|
|NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 2 / Pick: 32|
|Debuted in 2008 for the Miami Dolphins|
|Roster status: Active|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 3, 2013
Phillip Blaine Merling (born April 19, 1985) is an American football defensive end who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at Clemson University.
Played tight end and defensive end at Fork Union Military Academy in 2004. He totaled 38 catches for 647 yards and five touchdowns on offense and on defense he added five sacks, 51 tackles, and eight pass breakups. He had 20 catches for 430 yards and four scores as a senior and totaled 96 tackles and thirty four sacks as a senior. For that performance he was the MVP at Fork Union. After his senior year he played in the Tennessee/Kentucky All-Star game. He was also First-team All-state and All-region as a senior Prior to Fork Union, Merling attended Calhoun County High School in Saint Matthews, SC, for three years.
Merling was also All-conference, All-region, and All-area in basketball as a sophomore and junior. He averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds as a senior and averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds as a junior.
He appeared in 38 games at Clemson, starting his final 26. He delivered 146 tackles (99 solos), 12 sacks for minus 80 yards, 31 stops for losses totaling 152 yards and 45 quarterback pressures.
In 2007, he recorded 78 total tackles (first among defensive linemen), including 17 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks. He was instrumental to the Tigers’ top 10 national ranking in scoring and total defense. Was voted Second-team All-ACC for his efforts. He was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week three times, more than any other ACC player. It marked the first time since 2001 that a Clemson player was named ACC Player of the Week three times.
He started all 13 games of the 2006 season, finishing with 46 total tackles on Clemson's top-16 total and scoring defense. Merling had had 10 tackles for loss, second-most on the team behind Gaines Adams. Merling also recorded three sacks, 20 quarterback hurries and one forced fumble that year.
Merling played 271 snaps during his true freshman season in 2005. Won the 12th Man Award for the defense as a freshman and was a Second-team freshman All-America defensive end by Rivals.com.
Merling underwent a successful laparscopic by athletic pubalgia surgeon Dr. William Myers to repair a sports hernia. As a result he did not participate in most drills at the combine or the Clemson Pro day due to his recovery from surgery. However, on April 25, 2008, Merling had a private "pro day" for scouts and "performed well". Merling worked out hard for about 45 minutes. "The kid's a pretty safe pick," one scout said. "He's not going to get outflanked," another said, referring to Merling's stoutness at the point of attack. No numbers have been released from the workout.
Height: 6'4½" Weight: 271 lbs
40-yard time: 4.63, 4.73, 4.84 (pre-combine)
225-pound bench press: 17 reps
Merling was selected 32nd overall in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. In Week 17 of the 2008 season, he intercepted a Brett Favre pass and returned it for a touchdown, helping the Dolphins clinch the 2008 AFC East Division championship.
Before the 2010 season he suffered a torn Achilles' Tendon and was ruled out for the season, although he was activated before the Dolphins' Week 13 game with Cleveland.
Merling was waived by the Dolphins on April 23, 2012. He had only made seven tackles over the last two seasons.
Green Bay Packers
The Washington Redskins signed Merling to a reserve contract on January 8, 2013. On October 1, he was released, along with John Potter, in order to make room on the roster for the reinstatement of Rob Jackson and Jarvis Jenkins.
Merling was arrested in Broward County, Florida on May 26, 2010 and charged with aggravated battery against his then-fiancée Kristen Lennon, who was two months pregnant at the time. Merling was the second of two defensive linemen for the Miami Dolphins, Tony McDaniel being the first, to be arrested and charged with battery against a female during the 2010 offseason. The charges were later dropped by the Broward State Attorney's Office after Lennon moved back to her home state of South Carolina and did not return to testify against him, because she could not travel, as she was 8 months pregnant at the time.
In the fall of 2014, Merling enrolled at Clemson, where he worked as a graduate assistant for the football team. He left the university that October. That same month, a warrant was issued for his arrest for failure to pay child support to Kristen Lennon.
- Washington Post.com
- Packers sign DE Merling, release TE Ford, QB Hill
- Tinsman, Brian (January 8, 2013). "Redskins Sign Six To Reserve/Futures Contracts". Redskins.com. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- Tinsman, Brian (October 2, 2013). "Redskins Release Phillip Merling, John Potter". Redskins.com. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
- Leahy, Sean (May 27, 2010). "Miami Dolphins' Phillip Merling arrested for alleged battery on pregnant woman". USA Today.
- Eder, Steve (November 16, 2014). "An Accusation of Abuse, Then Special Treatment for an N.F.L. Player". New York Times.
- Sun Sentinel "Miami Dolphins' Phillip Merling accused of assault on pregnant woman"
- Miami Herald "Miami Dolphins' Phillip Merling no longer faces aggravated battery charges"