Ex-NFL Pro Launches Apparel Line in D.C. Area

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Former NFL player Shawne Merriman recently launched a clothing line to carry on his “Light’s Out” nickname and legacy throughout the world.

Ex-NFL player Shawne Merriman’s clothing brand “Lights Out” will be available in D.C. area stores this summer. (Courtesy Photo)

D.C. was one stop on the football star’s launching tour. Brentwood Downtown Locker Room (DTLR) of northeast D.C., hosted a meet and greet on May 19 for the new clothing designer. The line carries both men and women’s apparel, from men’s T-shirts to men and women’s performance tops and pants.

“You know for me it’s crazy because we’ve had a lot of success with the brand but I wanted most of the success to come from here, from P.G. County,” he told the AFRO.

According to a press release, the clothing brand was established in 2002. He acquired the trademark for Lights Out in 2007. The line first appeared on the West Coast in 2015.

Merriman, a native of Prince George’s County and University of Maryland alum, said he felt the most excitement about the release of his new brand in the area. Merriman grew up in Capital Heights, Md. and Forestville, Md. He played the majority of his career with the San Diego Chargers and briefly with the Buffalo Bills before retiring in 2013.

The “Light’s Out” clothing line is a collaboration between the former NFL player and a design team.

Merriman initially discovered the influence and impact of his brand beyond football while speaking with a grade teacher during a school visit. “What really made me think that ‘lights out’ was bigger than what it was at the time,” he said, “I think it was 2006. I was talking to a school of 6th graders and the teacher came in and was like, ‘Margaret had a ‘Light’s Out’ test score,’ and I was like wow. Here I am using lights out as this persona of this big bad guy on the field on Sundays crushing people on the field [compared] to this 6th grader having this test score and she was just going ‘Light’s Out.’” Merriman acquired the nickname after knocking four players unconscious during one game at Frederick Douglass High School in Prince George’s County.

An area resident and mother of a grade school football player feels Merriman has served as a proud example of what can become of youth. “I’m really excited about this. I think it’s a good opportunity for my son to meet someone who has accomplished so much from this area,” said Traci Lillard, while accompanied by her son, Roger Lillard.

Roger said he was excited about the clothing line from the football star. “I did watch him play,” he said.

“I think that ‘Light’s Out’ is a very powerful meaning, right, because I took it from what I did on the football field to kind of the persona that I carried to something that meant someone is having a ‘Light’s Out’ day,’” Merriman said. “I don’t know another brand that sounds that powerful when you say ‘Light’s Out.’”

The clothing line is scheduled to premiere in local Shoe City, Sports Zone, and Turning Point apparel stores in June.