Shawne Merriman has a message for all of the NFL players who are taking part in the Pro Bowl for the first time this week: Have fun in Hawaii, but not too much fun.

In a piece that he penned for The Players’ Tribune, Merriman talks about making it to his first Pro Bowl as a rookie back in 2005. He got to spend some time chatting with Peyton Manning next to the pool. He sipped on a bunch of Super Duper Mai Tais. And he even got into a fight (a playful fight, but a fight nonetheless) with Chuck Liddell. But he did make one rookie mistake that still haunts him today. We’ll let him tell it:

By Friday, you’ll feel like you’re coasting through the week. You’ve had a few days at the pool. You’ve done the Pearl Harbor visit (which you absolutely should not miss). You’ve been out to the beach, out to eat and out to events with your family and the other guys and their families. You only have one more light practice Saturday morning before the game on Sunday. So come Friday night, you’ll think, I’m gonna go out tonight and have me a good time.

At least that’s what I did.

I was drinking Super Duper Mai Tais all afternoon at the pool, and that night, I went to the club.

They always have celebrity DJs out at the clubs for Pro Bowl week, and Lil’ Jon was DJing at the club I was at. So I introduced myself, and we started talking.

Then the shots happened … and they kept going and going.

So there I was, 21 years old, in the club, taking shots with Lil’ Jon, thinking, This is the best week of my life!

You can guess what happened next. He got into it with Liddell, kept partying until late into the night, and eventually missed practice the next day, which was the final practice before the Pro Bowl. Fortunately, AFC head coach Bill Cowher didn’t kick him off the team for it, but it wouldn’t have been out of the question for him to send Marriman home. So Merriman tells today’s rookies not to make the same mistake he did.

You can check out what other advice he dished out here.

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[via The Players' Tribune]