The decision by Shawne Merriman to appeal his pending suspension for an alleged violation of the NFL steroids and related substances policy will buy the San Diego Chargers' star linebacker a reprieve of at least two more games.
And it comes at a time when the wounded Chargers definitely need Merriman, the league's defensive rookie of the year in 2005, on the field.
League officials on Tuesday confirmed that Merriman's appeal will be heard on Nov. 7. Since the second-year linebacker is permitted to continue practicing and playing until his appeal is resolved, Merriman will be able to participate in next Sunday's game against St. Louis and the Nov. 5 game against Cleveland. Both games are home contests.