SAN DIEGO — The surgeon's knife can wait. Shawne Merriman is going to play football, two torn knee ligaments and all.
A day after visiting a fourth doctor, the Chargers' star outside linebacker decided Wednesday to play this season rather than have surgery on his left knee.
"To be as simple as possible, I just want to play football," Merriman said. "That's what it comes down to. I know what's on the table, I know what's on the line."
Merriman said late last week that he has tears in both the posterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee, which he hurt in a game at Tennessee in December.
Merriman said all four doctors he saw said he needed surgery. When he does have surgery, he will face a rehab of six to seven months. While denying reports the situation could be career-threatening, he pledged to be "the same old Shawne Merriman."
Coach Norv Turner expects Merriman, who has 391/2 sacks in the past three seasons, to play in the Sept. 7 opener vs. Carolina.
Gustav watch: The NFL said it is monitoring Tropical Storm Gustav. The Bucs are scheduled to open the regular season Sept. 7 at New Orleans, which could be affected by Gustav.
Jag faces suit: Sharri Henry, who claims to be four months pregnant with Jaguars receiver Dennis Northcutt's baby, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, saying he arranged for his cousin to beat her up. She accuses Northcutt of trying to harm her unborn child and permanently disfigure her face May 17 at a restaurant. The cousin is not named in the lawsuit that seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Jason Lee, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department, would not say whether a police report was filed on the alleged assault.
Cardinals: Kurt Warner will be the starting quarterback Friday in the preseason finale against Denver, but coach Ken Whisenhunt says no decision has been made about whether Warner or Matt Leinart will start the season opener against the 49ers.
Colts: Coach Tony Dungy increased the workload for quarterback Peyton Manning a day after he returned to practice and showed no lingering effects from the knee surgery that kept him out for the past six weeks.
Jaguars: Defensive end Derrick Harvey, the eighth overall pick in the draft, ended a 33-day holdout when the former Gator signed a five-year, $23.8-million contract. Harvey was the last first-round pick to sign. It was unclear whether Harvey would play in the preseason finale tonight at Washington. His deal included a little more than $17-million guaranteed and could pay him as much as $33.4-million with incentives and escalators..
Seahawks: Lofa Tatupu has a bone bruise in his right knee, but coach Mike Holmgren said the linebacker will be fine for the Sept. 7 season opener at Buffalo.
Hall of fame: Defensive end Claude Humphrey (1968-81) and Olympic gold medal sprinter-turned-receiver Bob Hayes (1965-1975) were nominated by the seniors committee as finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
NFL diversity: The NFL has kept a steady number of African-American head coaches, while slightly increasing the ranks of Asian and Latino players, earning a B-plus in an annual diversity study. But it didn't get a grade for gender diversity for the fourth year in a row. The NFL is the only major pro sports organization that refuses to share its league office data with UCF's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.