Shawne Merriman was one of the most violent defensive players of his generation, but was admittedly shaken up after watching Damar Hamlin's heart stop on the field ... an incident he thinks will have a major impact on players across the league.
The former 12th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft joined Babcock and Mojo on the "TMZ Sports" TV show (airs weekdays on FS1) ... where we asked Merriman how the traumatizing incident will affect the Bills players as they attempt to make a run in the playoffs.
Shawne doesn't believe the incident will have any long-lasting impacts on the league, but it's not something players will forget, and it has Merriman feeling grateful that he left the game in one piece.
"It was the first thing on my mind when I woke up this morning and how fortunate I was to actually walk away from the game the way I did on the up and up."
We also talked to physician and internet star, Dr. Mike, about what Hamlin's road to recovery could look like, and whether he could ever safely return to a football field again.