San Diego Chargers Linebacker Shawne Merriman Denies Choking Tila Tequila

San Diego Chargers star linebacker Shawne Merriman says he didn’t choke reality star girlfriend, Tila Tequila, who has accused him of choking and restraining her during an altercation over the weekend.

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In a statement late Sunday, Merriman said that he was worried for Tila’s safety because she appeared to be intoxicated and he didn’t want her to drive. He also points out that EMT officials found no injuries on the star.

According to Merriman: “On September 6, 2009 the San Diego Sheriff’s Department responded to a citizen’s complaint that was initiated by Tila Nguyen (aka Tila Tequila). I was taken into custody based upon that complaint. At the time, I was concerned about her welfare given the intoxicated state she appeared to be in and I encouraged her to stay until safe transportation could be provided.”

The statement continued, “We would all do our best to help a friend if we considered their actions to be detrimental to their personal safety. I in no way caused any harm to Ms. Nguyen, however, paramedics were called and she was examined but no injuries were reported. She was released and has since returned to Los Angeles, California.”

“There have been no charges filed against me. I want to thank the San Diego Sheriff’s Department for their professionalism. I will continue to cooperate fully with the Department, and I look forward to clearing my name regarding these false allegations. I want to put this behind me so I can continue to focus on a successful season for the San Diego Chargers…”

The 27-year-old MySpace celeb who appeared on the MTV reality series A Shot at Love star accompanied Merriman to a birthday bash for a mutual friend at San Diego hotspot Stingaree earlier in the night — nightclub officials say the two were in “good spirits” during their stay.

Tila Tequila, whose real name is Tila Nguyen, called authorities at 3:45 AM, after leaving the club and heading back to Shawne’s home. “Nguyen told deputies she had been choked and physically restrained by Merriman when she attempted to leave his residence,” San Diego County Sheriff’s spokesperson Jan Caldwell told NBC San Diego. Tequila then signed a citizen’s arrest charging Merriman with battery and false imprisonment. She requested an ambulance and checked into a local hospital. She has since been released.

The 25-year-old athlete was arrested and booked around 8:30 AM and left jail at approximately 11 AM.

Tequila took to social networking website Twitter.com to hit back at Merriman’s defense – insisting she does not drink.

“I am only 93 pounds and 4 ft 11. I am allergic to alcohol. It has been publicly known for years. That is how I got the name Tila ‘Tequila’ cuz (sic) the irony… I can’t drink.”

The couple began dating in July.